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Forecasting Follies: March Madness and the Stock Market

In the Palmer family, March has always been synonymous with basketball. I officiated college basketball for over a decade, I coached AAU travel teams and my three sons all played college basketball. Our family marches to the dribble of a basketball.

So it’s easy to understand how enthralling March Madness is to me….and how my expertise might pay off in NCAA bracket pools. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A lot of the tournament’s appeal is its unpredictability. The win one game to advance format means that luck plays a greater role.

Of the over 20 million bracket submissions to ESPN, none survived the first 32 games perfectly.

And it’s not just me that can’t leverage knowledge for success. In this year’s tournament several basketball experts made the Final Four predictions noted below. Collectively, they got one of 12 selections correct!

Expert                               Final Four Picks

Jay Bilas                            Arizona / Texas / UConn / Duke

Ken Pomeroy                    Alabama / Houston / UCLA / Purdue

Joe Lunardi                       Alabama / Houston / Gonzaga / Duke


This year’s Final Four features 9 seed Florida Atlantic, 5 seed San Diego State, 5 seed Miami, and 4 seed UConn.

It’s not just March Madness where people seek experts to help them succeed. Many investors use much the same approach. They seek market prognosticators who can help divine where the market is headed or which stocks to buy. Unfortunately, the results are usually like the basketball experts.

Our investment approach, and our client’s investment success, isn’t predicated on prognostications. We seek to ride the tailwind of capitalism and free markets, eschewing stock pickers or market forecasts. Your wealth isn’t a game, why use a flawed strategy to build and maintain it?