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!

As David Gardner opined last year, the key to a great portfolio is balance. Carry a few large-cap players to anchor your team, and round it out with some young guns that have the potential to deliver spectacular returns.

With this in mind, let's take a look at my portfolio for the Fool's Stock Madness competition. And not to influence your vote, but I can almost hear Dick Vitale (a.k.a., Dicky V.) hootin' and hollerin' as he looks over my portfolio -- "Andy, I love this team! It's all about balance, baby!"

(NYSE:AIG) is a monster in the insurance and reinsurance businesses. It sells over $100 billion of insurance products each year and generates $11 billion in earnings. The stock has recovered somewhat after the Hank Greenberg-related mess of the past few years. At just under two times book value and 12 times earnings, this stock is my team's Big Man.

Power Forward
(NYSE:BA) is the largest aerospace company in the world, selling $55 billion worth of jetliners and military systems each year. It generated $5.5 billion in free cash flow last year and repurchased almost $2.9 billion worth of shares. Plus, the stock is up 80% over the past two years.

Scoring Forward
Rounding out my front court is Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HDI), the all-American maker of heavyweight motorcycles. Since 2004, its shares are off 16% (vs. a 7% gain for the S&P 500), but its cash flow has grown 23%. Harley has a loyal customer base that will continue to purchase cycles for years to come. At 12 times forward earnings, this company could be a slam dunk over the next five years.

The Backcourt
Diodes (NASDAQ:DIOD) and Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) are my two high-scoring smaller-cap plays. Activision is the No. 2 maker of video and computer games, an industry that will grow many-fold over the next decade. Diodes, a maker of semiconductor products for the communications, industrial, and automotive markets, is my best performer (up 117% over the past year). Over the past five years, Diodes has grown revenues 13% per year and earnings 18% per year. It's the small-cap playmaker you want to complement a stable of large-cap teammates.

I call this my "Duke 2001" stock portfolio. Like that championship team, I have five playmakers that can each beat the market by 2008. Put them together in one portfolio, however, and you have a team that can make a run at the championship.

John Reeves' rebuttal
Hmmm. Andy's big man AIG is an insurer that also happens to be under regulatory investigation. That's a bit like pinning your hopes on bad boy Ron Artest.

And then there's Harley-Davidson. Having it on your squad is like asking Bill Walton to lace up the old Chuck Taylors. Sure, Harley-Davidson made a fortune off the baby boomers and their thirst for mass-manufactured rebellion. But the boomers are now more likely to be brewing up a pot of chamomile while surfing the net for cheap long-term care insurance. It's doubtful they'll be buying a lot of Harleys in the foreseeable future. I don't have strong feelings about the rest of Andy's squad -- it seems more like an NIT team if you ask me.

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

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Fool analyst Andy Cross can't criticize the NCAA Selection Committee for leaving his beloved Michigan Wolverines out of the tournament. After all, they finished the year 3-7. At the time of publication, neither he nor John Reeves owned any shares of any company mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.