President Barack Obama released his bracket just before the start of the NCAA Tournament, picking Duke to win it all. He predicts a 4th matchup with rival North Carolina in the national title game. He also picked Connecticut to win in his women’s bracket.
The 44th President was in attendance when Zion Williamson sprained his knee after his Nike Paul George sneakers gave out 33 seconds into the first game against the Tar Heels.
The rest of his Final Four is pretty chalk, seeing a pair of 1-seeds (Duke, UNC) and 2-seeds (Michigan and Tennessee) reaching Minneapolis.
This has been the tradition for Obama since he started publishing his bracket back in 2009, his first year in office. Top seeds have dominated Obama’s picks to win the national championship since then. Oddsmakers predicted this again, such as BetOnline sporting short -200 odds on its March Madness props.
The Atlantic published an article back in 2012 about how well his prognostications work out. While he picked the winner in 2009 (North Carolina), he hovers in the 50 to 60 percent accuracy range.
Here’s a full breakdown of what the former junior senator from Illinois thinks will happen during the Round of 64.
Barack Obama East Regional
As mentioned earlier, he has Duke streaking to the Final Four, predicting that Mike Krzyzewski will improve to 12-1 over Michigan State’s Tom Izzo with an Elite 8 triumph.
He also picked just one “upset.” That’s in quotations because No. 9 UCF and 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall beating No. 8 Virginia Commonwealth is hardly a huge risk (especially since Duke will likely pummel whoever wins anyway).
As a former Harvard fellow, he also refused to predict that No. 14 Yale would topple No. 3 LSU. He did call for the Bayou Bengals to fall in the next round to No. 6 Maryland.
Barack Obama West Regional
Obama also played it safe here, but the later rounds contain some surprises. In a difficult to call 7/10 matchup between Nevada and Florida, he chose to pick the 19-15 Gators to advance.
He also has pretty much set up his bracket to resemble last year’s West Regional. He has No. 1 Gonzaga facing No. 4 Florida State in the Sweet 16, calling for the Seminoles to upset the Zags again. This would set up a rematch of last year’s Elite 8 in Anaheim between Michigan and FSU.
Barack Obama South Region
This is where Obama gets a little risky. He calls for the classic 12-seed upset over a 5, saying that Pac-12 Champion Oregon will claw past the Wisconsin Badgers.
The Ducks would face Big West Champion UC Irvine, who will need to get past Kansas State, who is missing potential NBA first-rounder Dean Wade.
While he doesn’t see No. 1 Virginia fading a la last year versus UMBC, he has Tennessee taking them out in the Elite 8.
Barack Obama Midwest Region
This one also sees a few surprises. Obama has No. 12 seed New Mexico State winning its first NCAA Tournament game since its vacated wins in 1992 and 1993. He also sees the Aggies making the Sweet 16 over injury-riddled Kansas.
He also isn’t buying the Wofford Terriers at No. 7, seeing Myles Powell and Seton Hall continuing its momentum after pushing into the tournament after a season on the bubble.
Despite the minor chaos, his Elite 8 matchup is a class blue-blood battle between Kentucky and North Carolina.