Obama Picks Undefeated Kentucky to Win NCAA Basketball TitleAngela Greiling Keane
President Barack Obama is picking the University of Kentucky Wildcats to win the men’s college basketball championship next month. But you might not want to use his brackets for the office pool.
Saying he thinks they can extend their undefeated regular season through the entire NCAA tournament, Obama told ESPN he picked Kentucky to beat Villanova University’s team in a Wildcats versus Wildcats final on April 6.
In what’s become an annual tradition for the president, Obama unveiled his picks on the sports network Wednesday, rounding out his tournament Final Four with the University of Arizona and Duke University.
Obama’s proven better at politics than bracketology. Over the last five years of making a public show of his predictions for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s tournament, Obama has chosen the winner correctly only once. That was in 2009 when he picked the University of North Carolina.
“I haven’t won since my first year in office,” Obama told the audience at the City Club of Cleveland in response to an audience question about his tournament choices. “Clearly I’m not spending as much time watching college basketball as I once did. I wouldn’t necessarily take my bracket and copy it.”
Of Arizona, Obama said they’re a team that doesn’t get as much attention as they should because their West Coast games are aired after people on the East Coast have gone to bed. He also said it pains him to pick the University of Louisville to lose in the “Elite Eight” -- the final eight teams -- because Rick “Pitino’s such a great coach.”
Obama also said he’d support rule changes for college hoops to speed the game like the National Basketball Association has done. He suggested a 30-second shot clock.
While he considers himself an avid basketball fan and says he wishes he had more time to watch ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Obama in his budget proposal in February proposed ending a tax deduction for donors who give to colleges in exchange for seats at sporting events.
On Thursday, Obama will give ESPN his picks for the women’s NCAA basketball tournament.