If you missed it, the President of the United States has issued an executive order for the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team to not let him down this year like they did last year in the NCAA Tournament. March Madness has struck the White House. An avid fan of basketball, the president charted the 64-team field of college teams for ESPN all the way to the championship game in Detroit in April. He thinks that UNC will win it all, but they’ll have to go through the Pittsburgh Panthers, the #1 seed in the and the Louisville Cardinals, the #1 Midwest seed and the overall #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, to do it.
But that’s almost the same thing he said last year. He picked North Carolina to win it all in 2008 as well.
But President Barack Obama was and is not alone. North Carolina is a perennial basketball powerhouse and a perennial favorite to win the NCAA Tournament.
It was interesting to watch President Obama make his choices. He certainly knows his college basketball, mentioning specific basketball players on certain teams as he chose them to win or to lose, talking up various teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Along with Andy Katz of ESPN, he filled in his brackets, counting them down and knocking them off until there was one.
Barack-Etology they have labeled it.
The President chose five of the six Pac 10 teams to lose in the first round, including a big upset of Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) over UCLA. The only Pac 10 team he picked to advance, Washington, gets knocked off before the Sweet Sixteen. He chose Syracuse as the dark horse to make it to the Elite Eight, knocking off Oklahoma.
Obama’s Final Four? North Carolina, Pitt, Memphis, and Louisville.
He then addressed the North Carolina team: “Now, the Tarheels that are watching. I picked you all last year; you let me down. This year, don’t embarrass me in front of the nation. Alright. I’m counting on you.”
That sounds like an executive order. No pressure, just a command performance for the President of the United States Barack Obama.
Just how much of the NCAA Tournament will the President be able to see. He said he doubted if he would be able to catch an entire game, but he would be taking “peeks” to see how the tournament progressed.
Still, with apologies to the President, it is doubtful North Carolina will get past Pittsburgh. In fact, Andy Katz picks the Pittsburgh Panthers to take the championship game. This writer sees Oklahoma knocking off the North Carolina Tarheels and advancing to play Pittsburgh.
This writer also wants West Virginia as the dark horse, but agrees with the President in that they will probably not get past Kansas in the second round. I also would like to see Louisville win it all (for no other reason than they’re my favorite team besides my alma mater, WVU). Unlike the President, however, I believe Louisville will be knocked off by Memphis and the Championship Game will be played between Memphis and Oklahoma. Memphis goes on to do what they should have done last year.
Cinderellas? Are there to be no cinderella teams this year? Perhaps. What would an NCAA basketball tournament be without one or two? But one team to watch, although everyone seems to be ignoring them, is Utah State. They have only lost four games all season. The NCAA selection committee placed them as a very disrespectful #11 seed in the West Region. If they can get by Big East power Marquette, the Utah State Aggies might be the cinderella story at this year’s “Big Dance.”
Will President Obama’s Barack-Etology be proven correct? Or will his pick of Syracuse and all those Pac 10 teams losing completely mess his brackets up? What about Andy Katz? How about saul relative? Or will some dark horse, cinderella, or middle-seeded team win it all? We start finding out when the NCAA Tournament, the Road to the Final Four, begins Thursday, March 19.
The NCAA brackets: the original field of 65.
Watch President Obama fill in the NCAA Tournament brackets with Andy Katz of ESPN.