Is it a bold move — or the ultimate in playing it safe? President Obama unveiled his NCAA men’s basketball bracket (“Barack-etology 2011”) Wednesday. His idea of March Madness is the four top-ranked teams — Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh — in the Final Four.
“I have never picked all number one seeds,” Obama explained to ESPN college basketball expert Andy Katz. Sure, it looks like the easy way out, but it’s actually very risky: The NCAA started ranking teams in 1979, and the only year all four #1 teams made it to the semi-finals was 2008. There’s usually an upset by some underdog — just like in politics.
(Speaking of which: The president opened the interview with an appeal for hoops fans to donate to charities helping victims in Japan: “I think that would be a great gesture as you’re filling out your brackets. They can really help out some people who are going through a tough time.”)
Obama’s choice for champion? The Kansas Jayhawks, whom he also picked to win it all last year . . . before they were upset and eliminated early in the tournament.
“They always feel bad about losing when the president picks them,” he said with a grin. “They’re going to go all the way.”