Politicians have unleashed their NCAA picks, and no Final Four has gone unturned for latent political meaning.
President Obama has carved out a niche as the nation’s top political NCAA predictor, holding his annual tete-a-tete with ESPN’s Andy Katz. But this year it’s a Republican, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who’s leading the bracketology charge with a set of picks that should probably turn some basketball-knowing heads.
Here are the NCAA brackets of three incredibly powerful people, and one person who influences the lawmakers who do the actual voting.
The Florida senator has upsets all over the place. Notre Dame (7) over Ohio State (2). Ole Miss (12) over Wisconsin (5). UNLV (5) in the Elite Eight. VCU (5) over Kansas (1)! In the Final Four, he picks his undergraduate alma mater, Florida (3), over his law school alma mater, Miami (2).
As brackets go, this one’s for tournament dreamers. Unless, that is, Rubio planned to enter these picks in an NCAA pool that awards seed differential–in which case he’s doing it for the money.
The bracket proves one of two things: Either Rubio is a champion of underdogs, or he’s a hardcore gambler at heart.
Nothing too exciting here. Obama’s Final Four consists of two one-seeds, a two-seed, and a three-seed.
The president knows his basketball, but this bracket is distinctly lacking in verve. We could talk about why he picked Indiana–a red state that’s kind of a swing state, etc.–or we could talk about how his biggest upsets are Minnesota (11) over UCLA (6), Belmont (11) over New Mexico (3), and Michigan (4) over Kansas (1). This is the bracket of a man who just wants to keep things going smoothly, not rock the boat, and keep everyone calm while he’s in Israel.
In other words, Obama and Rubio have picked nearly opposite brackets. Which makes sense.
Via David Catanese, the blog Sports Grid has broken down the Obama vs. Rubio bracketological divide thusly:
Although their Final Four’s look similar, with top seeds in all spots, their Sweet Sixteen’s arediametrically opposed to one another (political jargon for opposite-when in Rome). Here’s a simple way of looking at it. The combined seedings of Obama’s Sweet Sixteen comes out to a paltry 41. That means that he’s almost exclusively choosing higher seeded teams to advance. Rubio’s Sweet Sixteen, on the other hand, has a total seeding number of 70, meaning he’s got low seeds all over the damn place! Go figure, the liberal goes conservative and the conservative goes all whimsical.
There’s really only one thing you need to know about the Senate minority leader’s bracket, which can be found at WHAS 11: He’s got Western Kentucky (16) topping Kansas (1) and Villanova (9) before inexplicably losing to Virginia Commonwealth (5).
He also picked Louisville (1), where he went to college as an undergrad, to go all the way.
McConnell is the ultimate homer.
The president of Americans for Tax Reform included a preamble to his bracket, scrawled at the top: “Hey taxpayer, I chose my winners based on the lowest top marginal income tax rate in each team’s home state. In case of a tie, I went with the Right to Work state. Good luck with your brackets! -Grover”
Norquist has done something few are willing to do. He’s filled out a bracket based on pure ideology.