And the Winner Is...the President Plays It Conservatively in His NCAA Basketball Bracket
President Barack Obama revealed his prediction for an NCAA men's basketball tournament winner on ESPN Wednesday morning. In an Oval Office segment taped yesterday with Andy Katz, the president picked Michigan State Spartans to win it all.
The president's Final Four also includes Florida, Arizona, and Louisville. "I know these are not imaginative picks but I know they're the right ones," the president said. ESPN reported on Sports Center last night that each of the president's Final Four selections remained the consensus picks among readers at ESPN.com filling out millions of brackets. In fact, the president selected the higher seeded team in all but five--Pitt #9, Harvard #12, Arizona State #10, NC State #12, Oklahoma State #12--of the 32 opening-round games.
"I like Michigan State University," Obama said of the #4 seed. "Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach." The president added that Izzo "knows how to motivate folks" and that the Big Ten is "as tough a conference as there is." The presidential blessing may well prove a curse. This is the sixth publicized presidential bracket in Obama's term in office. In his first year, the president correctly picked the North Carolina Tar Heels to win it all. He's been off, like so many other prognosticators, every year since.
How does the president's bracket compare to Breitbart Sports college basketball expert John Pudner's? Like the president, Pudner picks Florida, Michigan State, and Louisville to make it to the Final Four. Unlike the president's selection of Arizona, Pudner puts Wisconsin in the Final Four. They differ on the winner, too. Whereas Obama believes Michigan State will capture their second crown, Pudner sees Louisville repeating.
Despite White House efforts to tie in March Madness with its promotional efforts for ObamaCare, the president left politics mostly out of the edited ESPN presentation. When asked about what he'd do with the money should he win his friend Warren Buffett's billion-dollar bracket, Obama offered: "I'm sure somebody would ask me to pay down more of the federal debt." He noted he'd probably have to buy new shoes for his wife. Later, Katz inquired about players leaving college early for the NBA. "I don't begrudge young people," the president said, who seize an opportunity to "put food on the table" for their families, adding that he hoped that the dropouts would eventually resume their educations.
The administration released a "16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered" list Monday alongside an ObamaCare promotional video featuring North Carolina coach Roy Williams. Commercials featuring LeBron James touting healthcare.gov run during basketball games this week. The president took his ObamaCare message to Spanish-language sports radio yesterday, assuring listeners that immigration officials would not have access to their information through the government-overseen health exchanges.