The following article is part of The Motley Fool's "Stock Madness 2006," based loosely on the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament, a.k.a. "March Madness." Throughout the competition, our writers and analysts will engage in head-to-head competition. You, dear readers, are the fans and referees - after you read these exciting duels, your votes will determine who moves on to the next round of play. The writer who survives the tournament will be our champion and most valuable "coach."

But, please, make no mistake -- "Stock Madness 2006" is a GAME!

It's round 1 of our Foolish March Madness tournament, and while I definitely have opening-night jitters, I think my team's underappreciated value will surprise some folks.

Motley Fool Income Investor selection Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD) may appear to be a boring energy master limited partnership (MLP), but with a 7.2% yield and a little room to grow, it's a solid force in the middle of a portfolio. For the rest of the frontcourt, we've got undervalued stalwarts Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). Nobody expects much from either right now, but both have delivered for decades, and both are well positioned to continue growing.

In the back court, we've got 3Com (NASDAQ:COMS) and Asset Acceptance Capital (NASDAQ:AACC). Overlooked and abused, 3Com has languished as it struggled to compete with bigger guns such as Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO). But it's still got a boatload of cash on its balance sheet, and it's turning the ship around.

The most important matchup in this first-round contest is between Asset Acceptance Capital and my rival Rex's Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick Portfolio Recovery Associates (NASDAQ:PRAA). Both are very good companies that have been public for a relatively short time. I'd usually root for both companies; they've got solid management, and they provide financials that allow investors a good look at each business' performance.

But investing is about making money, and as much as I like Portfolio Recovery, I find the market's current valuation for Asset Acceptance Capital far more interesting. Its price-to-free cash flow multiple of 8.5 compares quite favorably to Portfolio Recovery's 13.5. You don't see such a multiple too often, and it's especially surprising given Acceptance's recent struggles with telecom debt.

My opponent also has a good team, with companies that should perform well for years -- but that's exactly what investors expect them to do. Not nearly as much is expected of the companies on my team, but I think they'll also rise to the challenge. Add it all up, and I think we have a good chance of not only moving on to the next round, but also making a little noise in this tourney.

Rex Moore's rebuttal
Nate's write-up is full of code phrases for trouble: "underappreciated value," "overlooked and abused," "struggled to compete," etc. I recommend steering clear of these higher-risk plays. Instead, concentrate on steady, sometimes even boring, excellence.

You can feel confident buying stocks like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble and locking them away for years. You want long-term excellence? With dividends reinvested, P&G is among the top 20 best-performing survivor stocks from 1957's original S&P 500. I think there's a good chance we'll look back in another 50 years and find it's still in the S&P 500's top 20.

Check out Rex's team, then vote for the winner!

Nathan Parmelee owns shares in Enterprise Products Partners and Portfolio Recovery Associates, but has no financial stake in any of the other companies mentioned. Rex Moore owns shares in Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Portfolio Recovery Associates. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.