Wall Street Titans Love South Carolina as Women’s Hoops Champs

Wall Street is betting on the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team to repeat as champions.

(Bloomberg) — Wall Street is betting on the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team to repeat as champions.

About 85% of participants filling out a Women’s bracket for the Bloomberg Brackets for a Cause charity competition picked the Gamecocks to emerge triumphant in Dallas. Wall Street titans from former Russell Investments CEO Michelle Seitz to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Dina Powell McCormick and Pershing Square Capital Management founder Bill Ackman picked undefeated South Carolina to win it all.

This year is the first time the Women’s bracket is a part of the fundraiser, which began in 2015, with first round play starting Friday. The roughly 50 entrants donate $20,000, fill out their brackets and select a charity that receives funds if they are a top-three finisher in the men’s or women’s challenge. The competition will raise more than $1 million this year.

South Carolina — which topped the Associated Press Top 25 Poll every week this season — is led by forward Aliyah Boston and guard Zia Cooke and coached by two-time NCAA champion Dawn Staley. Only David Einhorn doesn’t have the Gamecocks in the Final Four, instead the Greenlight Capital founder picked the University of Maryland to pull off the upset in the Elite Eight.

Stanford University is the second-favorite to win it all, with five participants taking the Cardinal. Indiana University was tabbed by Einhorn and Tudor Investments founder Paul Tudor Jones to win it all while Mark Attanasio, co-founder of Crescent Capital Group, picked fellow one-seed Virginia Tech.

One-quarter of all brackets have identical Final Fours featuring South Carolina, Indiana, University of Iowa, and the University of Connecticut. Peak6 Investments co-founder Jenny Just and Javier Rodriguez, CEO of DaVita Inc., are among the 16 competitors to pick the Gamecocks to top the Huskies in a rematch of last year’s National Title. 

On the Men’s side, some titans are already looking at a difficult shot to finish top three. Princeton Tigers’ 59-55 upset of the second-seed Arizona Wildcats shocked many viewers and busted the brackets of former Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren and Jay Clayton, former US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, who picked Arizona to win it all. The Virginia Cavaliers’ loss to the 13-seed Furman Paladins busted Cisco Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins’s bracket given he had the Cavs falling to the Kansas Jayhawks in the title.

Here is a look at some of the other picks from this year’s participants: 

  • UBS Asset Management President Suni Harford is among the Gamecock believers, but her picks for the Greenville 2 region include shockers like an Elite Eight match-up of 12-seed Florida Gulf Coast University and 11-seed University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She also has 12-seed University of Toledo upsetting Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16.
  • George Walker, who runs Neuberger Berman, has South Carolina over Indiana in the title game with Stanford and Virginia Tech falling in the Final Four. He sees all two-seeds dropping out in the Sweet Sixteen.
  • Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg likes South Carolina to beat Virginia Tech with the University of Louisville being the only team that’s not a one-seed in the Final Four. He picked the Cardinals over Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen.
  • James Zenni’s Final Four looks different than most entries as he picked LSU and Ohio State to join South Carolina and Stanford. The Z Capital Group founder likes the Cardinal to beat the Tigers in the National Title.
  • Dynasty Equity’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Office K. Don Cornwell got his MBA from Stanford University and likes the Cardinal to beat the Huskies in the championship.

–With assistance from Michael Boyle.

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