Barack-etology: President Obama Goes with Safe Picks for his NCAA Men’s, Women’s Final Fours

Mar 16, 2010 7:26pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: In perhaps the most critical week of his presidency, with health care reform legislation on the line, President Obama, like millions of Americans, took some time out for March Madness. Today at the White House Obama filled out his NCAA men’s and women’s tournament brackets with ESPN’s Andy Katz and Doris Burke. The hoopster-in-chief has  Kansas, Kentucky, Kansas State and Villanova in his men’s Final Four and on the women’s side, predicts the last four teams will be Connecticut, Stanford, Tennessee and Notre Dame. This is the second year Obama has done his brackets with ESPN, but the first time he filled out a women’s tournament bracket. Obama’s full bracket – and his national champions – will be unveiled on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Wednesday. Obama’s men’s and women’s Final Four lineups are full of safe, high-seeded picks rather than upset Cinderellas. The Kansas men’s squad is the top team going into this week’s tournament and Kentucky is also a #1 seed. Kansas State and Villanova come in as #2 seeds. His bracket is likely to match many March Madness participants. Picking the UConn women’s team for his Final Four is a solid and safe bet for Obama. The Huskies have dominated college women’s basketball this season, boast a 72-game winning streak and are the defending national champions. UConn came to the White House last year to be honored for their title and shot hoops with the president on the basketball court there. On the women’s side, Stanford and Tennessee are #1 seeds and Notre Dame is a #2 seed. Last year, Obama correctly picked the North Carolina Tar Heels as the men’s national champion, despite some bumps along the way in his bracket and early losses. Obama took a break from the campaign trail in the spring of 2008 to play some hoops with the Tar Heels so he had inside knowledge of their game. The Tar Heels were also the top ranked team, making them a safe bet for the Final Four and title. Katz said after the interview that it was clear that Obama has been paying attention to college basketball this season, knowing details about injuries, key players and good potential matchups in the tournament field. Obama’s love of basketball is well documented and he frequently plays pick-up games with friends and staff on weekends. He has admitted to being a devoted SportsCenter viewer and avidly follows the college game. Obama sat courtside in January for a matchup between two top teams – the Georgetown Hoyas and the Duke Blue Devils -and even tried his hand at a few minutes of color commentary on the sidelines with the CBS Sports game announcers. -Karen Travers

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