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Obama Picks North Carolina to Win NCAA College Basketball Title

U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron eat hot dogs as they sit in the stands at University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio 0n March 13, 2012, attending the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First Four. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron eat hot dogs as they sit in the stands at University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio 0n March 13, 2012, attending the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First Four. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama tapped the University of North Carolina’s Tar Heels as his pick to win the U.S. college basketball championship.

Obama, a basketball fan who took U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to the annual college tournament’s first game last night in Dayton, Ohio, disclosed his selection today on the ESPN cable sports network.

Obama said North Carolina will upset the top-seeded University of Kentucky in the April 2 NCAA Division I men’s championship game.

The president had already disclosed predictions that North Carolina, Kentucky, the University of Missouri and Ohio State University would play in the tournament semi-finals, known as the Final Four, in New Orleans.

“I’m big on momentum,” Obama said on ESPN, explaining factors that go into his selections. “I like teams that are hot late” in the season.

Kentucky is the No. 1 team in the Associated Press’s college poll. Missouri is third, North Carolina is fourth, and Ohio State is seventh in the latest AP rankings.

Obama, 50, and Cameron, 45, watched Western Kentucky University defeat Mississippi Valley State University yesterday in Dayton.

Obama often spends free time on weekends playing basketball at the Interior Department or Fort McNair. Every year he has been in office, the president has filled in tournament predictions on Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, said yesterday that he won’t be filling out brackets.

“I’m not plugged in well enough this year to do that,” he told reporters traveling with him.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Drummond in Washington at bdrummond@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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