March Madness: Value Plays for your Bracket

Obama Picks Kentucky in his NCAA Bracket MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Obama Picks Kentucky in his NCAA Bracket

Although President Obama picked Kentucky to win the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, is that the way to go?  Kentucky is an overwhelming favorite, but tons of folks will pick Kentucky to win it all.     

If you are in a small pool, picking a favorite is sometimes a good strategy.  However, as the size of your pool grows, it pays to go "contrarian" and seek value in your NCAA March Madness bracket.   Below are some value picks based on team strength, public picking patterns, and seeds.  

Villanova: Although Villanova is a No. 1 seed, they are not one of the fan favorites.  Most people are picking the other top seeds, even with Villanova's 32-2 record and fourth-best offense in the nation (according to   There is value on Villanova as a contrarian play.   

Virginia: Virginia looks like an even better contrarian play, with the top-rated defense, 29-3 record, and an underrated No. 2 seed.   

Gonzaga: some fans love their name -- and over the years, Gonzaga has really made a name for themselves during March Madness.  A No. 2 seed, some might have argued that the 32-2 team deserved even better.   Thus, the undervalued Gonzaga team is a solid value.

Texas: if you are looking for a long-shot to advance, take a closer look at Texas, which is a very underrated No. 11 seed.  Some would argue that Texas deserved a No. 4 seed!  According to, Texas is balanced, with both good offense and defense.  Texas played a tough schedule and had some tough luck in games.  

Wichita State: is another underrated seed at No. 7, and may have deserved a No. 3 seed!  

Utah: another underrated seed,  the No. 5 seed may have deserved a No. 2 seed.    

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Carlton Chin is a fund manager, MIT-trained quantitative analyst, and co-author of “Who Will Win the Big Game?" He has been quoted by the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, and ESPN -- and worked with the Sacramento Kings on the 2014 NBA Draft.