President proves to be hoops guru
While it might be cool to work in the White House, be glad President Obama isn’t in your office pool.
He just went a blistering 29-3 in the first round.
While millions of Americans have had their brackets busted, Obama’s is almost perfectly intact after two days of play.
Other than that, he has ridden a wave of success from favorites that have mostly robbed the vaunted tournament of its signature small-school upsets but proven money for those, such as Obama, who picked few upsets.
Obama’s score would rank him in the top 1 percent of the masses who played the Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em Game. No one is 32-0, and just three players are 31-1. Obama would be tied for 160th place.
The President’s bracket is in terrific shape as the tournament advances. Fifteen of his Sweet Sixteen selections are alive (all but Louisville), and he still could place all eight teams in the regional finals. He appears capable of scoring higher than any player on Yahoo! and perhaps any of the other bracket contests on the Internet.
Obama is a basketball fan. As President, he has taken in college games in person and expressed that he regularly watches on TV. Participating in the filling out of a bracket would seem to be a typical political maneuver to bolster a connection with millions of Americans.
Showing such proficiency at picking the teams, though, may not be what the White House hoped. Just how much college basketball has the President been watching? Newt Gingrich criticized Obama this week for his “fixation” on the Final Four in lieu of other issues.
Actually, Obama’s selections may suggest he isn’t that devout a fan. His picks were overwhelmingly for name programs and favorites – simply following the seedings of the selection committee.
He actually chose, well, conservatively.
Obama’s selection, revealed to ESPN earlier this week, was at the time criticized by fans of all political stripes because it appeared to lack creativity and guts. He even selected the tournament’s four No. 1 seeds – Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh – to reach the national semifinals. That has happened only once, in 2008, when Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA did it.
Turns out his picks were mostly correct.
This tournament has lacked the Cinderella stories from little-known schools that made the event famous – and shred the best planned of brackets. Only Morehead State, from the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky, could be called an unknown commodity. Virginia Commonwealth isn’t a big-name school, but it routinely has had success in the tournament.
It’s a chalk event thus far, easier to pick for the casual fan than the hardcore one who over-thinks things.
Or perhaps President Obama really knows his stuff.
For the record, he has Kansas beating Ohio State in the championship game.