President Obama was reminded today of the perils of going public with his NCAA tournament bracket, accepting defeat as he welcomed the champion University of Kentucky Wildcats to the White House.
“This was the fourth year that I filled out my bracket on ESPN. And what I’ve learned is that if I make the right picks, I look like a genius. But if things go the other way, then a team like Kentucky gets to come to my house and remind me, in person, that I was wrong,” the president said, laughing. “So it is a double-edged sword.”
The president, an avid basketball fan, picked North Carolina to beat Kentucky in the title game, but UNC never made it past the quarterfinals.
Defending his pick, the president joked that he knew Kentucky was good “but in the end, I thought, they got all these freshmen. These guys are too young. And, keep in mind, at this time last year, three of the Wildcats’ five starters were still in high school. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist couldn’t even vote yet.”
“But let’s face it, sometimes talent trumps experience,” the president said. “And sometimes a bunch of young players, even if they’re used to being big fishes in their ponds, even if they’ve never played together before, they can buy into a system, they understand the concept of team and they do something special right away. And that’s exactly what happened in Kentucky.”
When Kentucky defeated Kansas to win the title, Coach John Calipari told the president today, the players started jumping up and down shouting “We’re going to the White House! We’re going to the White House!”