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!

A great basketball team consists of two key elements -- the core deep-bench players and a few on the roster who can hit the three-pointers. The same goes for a great portfolio -- you need the deep bench to stabilize your returns over volatile business cycles, but you need the stocks that aren't afraid to fly high when it comes to generating great returns.

Taking that strategy to heart, I created a portfolio that has consistent value players as well as small caps that can hit the threes from across the court. This portfolio just screams victory.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is the master of information. Its mission is to organize the world's info, and with new product launches almost every quarter, it's well on its way. More people continue to convert to the Google way, and Internet advertising is becoming ever more targeted. When a company's name becomes a commonly used verb, you know you've got the team star on your hands.

News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) is one of the world's largest and most influential media goliaths. With legendary investor Rupert Murdoch at the helm, this global company can dodge its competition with the best of them. According to its website, the company has released three of the top five best-performing movies of all time -- Star Wars, Star Wars Episode I, and Titanic. And with a well-diversified conglomeration of assets, from movies to satellite TV to magazines and books, News Corp. has the weight and depth to push around all of the little guys.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE:MSO) has gotten a bad rap in the past because of the trading habits and subsequent jailing of its namesake personality. But as the company becomes more focused on its media and publishing businesses to enhance its brand, a streamlined and efficient company should emerge.

Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN) is a cosmetic company that many people have written off as unglamorous and stagnant. But with new products, including the Prevage skin-care line and Britney Spears fragrances out recently, this company has been able to grow its business much faster. Elizabeth Arden's stock price has grown by more than 25% in calendar year 2006 alone, and the growth is just getting started.

Finally, Spectranetics (NASDAQ:SPNC) is a medical-device company that has developed a laser for cardiovascular procedures. Founded by an Air Force physicist and a Hewlett-Packard engineer, Spectranetics has been treating heart patients for 17 years. And as the population continues to age, this type of technology will become only more relevant, helping Spectranetics grow by leaps and bounds.

Stephen Simpson's rebuttal
Since I think I've already made my case for my mini-portfolio, let's see whether we can chip away at my esteemed opponent's list.

Google -- down 25% from its highs, still trading at more than 16 times sales, and still competing with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), and an endless supply of entrepreneurs. Good luck.

As for the others, you have a risky med-tech stock (which I used to cover as an analyst), two companies run by egomaniacs, and a company in the popular-today/forgotten-tomorrow world of cosmetics. Where's the inevitability? Where are the dividends?

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. For more of the market's best bargain stocks, take Inside Value for a free, 30-day trial run.

Will Shruti's superstars win out over Stephen's balanced attack? It's your call -- read up on Stephen's team, and cast your votes!

Fool research analyst Shruti Basavaraj owns shares of Elizabeth Arden and Spectranetics. Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.