Obama's Bracket 2013: Analyzing President's Riskiest NCAA Tournament Picks

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 04: Wildcat Coach John Calipari watches as U.S. President Barack Obama plays with a ball given to him by the University of Kentucky basketball team during an event in the East Room at the White House, on May 4, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama was honoring the Kentucky Wildcats for winning its eighth NCAA national championship. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Every year since taking office, President Barack Obama has filled out an NCAA tournament bracket. This year's version has a few interesting surprises.

Fortunately, the Commander-in-Chief explained all of his picks to ESPN's Andy Katz on a segment cleverly titled "Barack-etology." Amazingly, he seemed to actually know what he was talking about with all of his picks.

Whether you agree with his politics or not, the fact remains that the man knows his basketball.

Obama picked a Final Four that included Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State and Florida. He picked Indiana to beat the top overall seed Louisville in the championship game. These are far from outrageous picks, but he did have some interesting selections along the line. 

Here is a breakdown of the president's riskiest picks.


No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Arizona

While Obama is not the only person making this upset pick, it is still an interesting one. When asked about Belmont, he responded, "they're small, but they shoot lights out."

In this case, the president's analysis is spot on. The Bruins are among the top 20 teams in the country in three-point shooting after making 38.6 percent of shots from the outside this season.

Meanwhile, Arizona has struggled to defend the perimeter this season, which has been a problem throughout the year. Opponents shot at least 40 percent from behind the arc in five of the Wildcats' seven losses.

While the higher seed could have an advantage on the boards, this will not matter much if Belmont does not miss on the offensive end.

This has become a popular upset pick for the second round, and Obama is smart to jump on the Bruins bandwagon.


No. 5 Wisconsin over No. 1 Gonzaga

Throughout the selection process, Obama was not shy about his love for the Big Ten. Not only is he from Illinois, but he is a firm believer that this was the best conference in the country throughout the season.

When selecting Wisconsin over Gonzaga, he told Katz, "this is where my Big Ten bias comes through."

While the Badgers have played well in recent weeks (excluding a home loss to Purdue), they might have too tough of a road to be able to reach the Elite Eight.

In the first round, Wisconsin has to defend Marshall Henderson and the SEC tournament winners Ole Miss. If the squad survives that, it will have to beat Kansas State while playing basically a road game in Kansas City. 

The Badgers would then likely have a tough battle with Gonzaga, who earned the No. 1 seed because it has been one of the more consistent teams in the country all season. 

With an offense that struggles at time and no true go-to player to take over, the Badgers will not have a deep run in March.


No. 4 Michigan over No. 1 Kansas

Once again, the president is choosing to stick with a Big Ten team. He chose Michigan to beat Kansas in the Sweet 16 before predicting the team will lose to Florida in the Elite Eight.

This is a reasonable sleeper pick, especially considering that the Wolverines have been considered one of the top teams in the country throughout the regular season.

Michigan was a tip-in away from earning a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, but the squad is now relegated to a No. 4 seed. With Trey Burke and arguably the nation's best backcourt, do not be surprised if this squad goes all the way to the Final Four.

Of course, it is important not to forget everything that Kansas has accomplished this season. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular season and tournament title while also putting together an impressive non-conference resume.

They are led by a host of talented players, including the pure scorer Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey, who is one of the best interior defenders in the country. 

The Wolverines are a solid sleeper pick, but this selection highlights the fact that the Kansas bandwagon is a little too empty at this point of the year.


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