Coach K’s Feathers Ruffled by Barack-o-Tology Snub?

Mar 19, 2009 12:35pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: President Obama has been in politics long enough to know that you can’t please everyone, even when it comes to something as nonpolitical as the NCAA basketball tournament. Obama unveiled his tournament picks during an interview Tuesday with ESPN’s Andy Katz. Nothing too risky — the president likes the favorites for his Final Four, going with three top seeds (Pitt, Louisville and North Caroline) and a two seed (Memphis). Obama has the Tar Heels winning it all in Detroit on April 6. Well that pick may have touched a nerve in Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who said today that he thinks the president would be better off spending his time focusing on policy, not hoops. "Somebody said that we’re not in President Obama’s Final Four, and as much as I respect what he’s doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets,” Coach K said in Greensboro, N.C., site of the Blue Devils’ first-round game against Binghamton. But Coach K did try to brush it off: “Why would I care about that? I love the guy, and I think he’s going to be great.” Is this just bruised feelings carrying over from the bitter rivalry between North Carolina and Duke? Would Coach K have the same reaction if his team went a little further in Barack-O-Tology? Perhaps he’s playing a bit of a head game with North Carolina, trying to keep the spotlight (and pressure) on the Tar Heels by making sure they know they have the weight of the presidential bracket riding on their top-seeded shoulders. Reggie Love, Obama’s personal aide, played basketball at Duke but that wasn’t enough to sway the basketball-savvy president. The president has them losing to Pitt in the Elite Eight. — Karen Travers

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