Obama releases ‘not imaginative’ NCAA bracket

 

President Barack Obama released an NCAA bracket Wednesday that, even by his own account, isn't all that inspired.

Trying to rebound from years of busted brackets, Obama picked Michigan State to beat Louisville.

"It's been awhile since I won my pool," Obama said on ESPN, where he revealed his picks. "Michigan State, bring it home for me."

As he has in the past, Obama played it safe, choosing two number one seeds - Florida and Arizona - to round out the Final Four. Louisville and Michigan State are both ranked number four. 

"I know these are not imaginative picks, but I think they’re the right ones," he said.


Obama's 2014 NCAA bracket.

Picking Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo to win it all is a departure for Obama, who has in the past picked Kansas and North Carolina to win it all. He's only been right once, when the Tar Heels won the 2009 championship.

"It's been awhile since Izzo won, and he knows how to motivate folks," Obama said. Izzo has led the Spartans to six final fours since 1999.

Things might be a bit tense in the West Wing; Obama predicts that Vice President Biden's Delaware Blue Hens will wash out in the first round against, of course, Michigan State.

"I'll let Biden pick his own bracket," Obama said.

While Obama gave a shout-out to Duke's Jabari Parker "need to be a hometown booster," he said, he gave little love to D.C.'s teams, predicting George Washington and American will wash out in the first round.

This year, the White House is using Obama's bracket for another reason: to boost enrollment for health-care insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment ends March 31.

The White House on Monday released a "16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered" bracket that includes animal gifs (dancing ducks, anyone?) and choices including "it will give your mom piece of mind." Obama's bracket is included on the page.

The campaign will include ads from athletes and coaches including LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning that will air during the games. Two coaches, University of Connecticut women's coach Geno Auriemma and University of North Carolina men's coach Roy Williams, appear in an ad imploring fans to "beat the buzzer" and get covered.

Tom Izzo doesn't appear, but the choice of Williams is not surprising; last year Obama said he is a "sucker for the Tar Heels."

This year, not so much. Obama predicts they'll lose to Villanova in the Sweet 16.

Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix.
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