Business News

Market match madness: Analysts select Final Four winners based on stock picks

The Final Four of stocks

As March ends, another year of shattered brackets and NCAA March Madness chaos wraps up.

This weekend, Gonzaga (Washington), South Carolina, Oregon and North Carolina battle it out in the Final Four for a spot in the championship game next weekend.

Two former professional athletes turned financial analysts spoke with CNBC about which teams they would choose as favorites to win based on the headquarters of major companies and firms located in their state.

"Well, it's got to be Gonzaga," former NFL wide receiver and Academy Securities President Phil McConkey told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Friday. "When you look at a team like that, you think of small guys, underdogs, yet their lineup has about three guys that are 7'0" or above. And when you look at the companies associated with the state of Washington, you go to Microsoft. You got a 500 billion dollar center just sitting there. You go to the power forward, Amazon. You know, they are talking about Amazon becoming the first trillion dollar company."

While the Gonzago portfolio boasts of other corporate giants such as Costco and Starbucks, former NFL cornerback and Profit Investment Management CEO Eugene Profit prefers a more conservative portfolio.

"I think with all the headwinds that might be coming forward with geopolitical risks, political risks, trade wars, that's specifically coming down the line the rest of the year, I want a more conservative portfolio," Profit said. "In the [South Carolina] portfolio, Blackbaud, a nonprofit software company that deals a lot of nonprofits, is doing well, has 82% return year over year. If you have the loan, you have the PE (price-earning ratio) of 19 that will give you downside protection if the market does not continue up along the Trump rally, but also has the ability to actually provide a little offense because [South Carolina is] well known for that defensive prowess."

And in terms of personal picks for the NCAA tournament, both analysts want Gonzaga touting the championship trophy, but recognizes North Carolina's wealth of experience.

"Well, again, the underdog for me is Gonzaga. I have to go with them," McConkey said. "I know the corporations are big time corporations in Washington, but they've been to the Final Four one time. North Carolina's been there 20 times winning five of them, so I got to go with Gonzaga out of the underdog status."