Welcome to Stock Madness 2007!

It's that time of year again -- not just for NCAA hoops, but also for the Fool's annual Stock Madness tournament.

This year, we have a new tool to help us decide the winner: Motley Fool CAPS -- the Fool's new stock-picking community where more than 46,000 investors have already rated more than 4,000 stocks. (You can join the CAPS community for free.)

For this year's contest, our analysts have chosen 32 stocks to contend for the Stock Madness championship, and over the next few weeks, you'll be able to vote for your favorite (or least favorite) stocks by making an "outperform" or "underperform" call on them in CAPS. We'll also add the number of recommendations each article receives to the total vote.

Based on your votes each in each "game," we'll advance the winners to the next round and send the losers back to the drawing board to prepare for next season. The tournament champion will be crowned on April 2.

In this year's field, there are some Tar Heel-esque perennial powerhouses such as Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) , Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , but there might be a few George Masons in the mix, too. Natus Medical (Nasdaq: BABY  ) and Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS  ) hope to play the role of spoiler in their first round matchups against Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) and Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD  ) , respectively.

The coming weeks should prove to be a great learning experience ... and a lot of fun, too!

So, without further ado, let's get started with those first round matchups and start separating the contenders from the pretenders!

Click here to read all of our tourney entries.

Do you think you could pitch your favorite stock or ditch your least favorite one in less than 27 seconds? That's what we're doing over at Motley Fool CAPS. Check out our new stock videos.

Fool co-founder David Gardner owns shares of Microsoft. Wal-Mart and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Select Comfort is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems choice. Under Armour is a Rule Breakers selection. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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