President Barack Obama filled out his NCAA tournament bracket for the eighth and final time during his presidency Wednesday as part of ESPN's annual Barack-etology segment.
The POTUS ran down his March Madness selections with college basketball analyst Andy Katz, and he ultimately chose Kansas to defeat North Carolina for the national championship.
Here is a look at Obama's entire bracket, courtesy of White House Director of Online Engagement Alex Wall:
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According to Katz, the president has not correctly picked a national champion since selecting UNC during his first year in office in 2009.
He picked Kansas to win it all twice previously, and he is banking on head coach Bill Self to get the job done this time around, per Katz: "Bill Self owes me. I'm putting Kansas in here. Coach, I'm just teasing. I'm not putting pressure on you. But I think the Jayhawks in a squeaker get past UNC.''
As pointed out by Katz as part of an ESPN press release on the Sports Media News website, President Obama primarily went with chalk in his bracket, which has mostly been the case over the past eight years:
The President was a Cinderella as a candidate eight years ago but he has gone with the favorites in each year of his presidency. The presidential bracket has been a non-partisan, American endeavor that he has enjoyed filling out with us like every other fan and it has been a great run. Let’s see if he can bookend his presidency with a winner in his first and last year.
President Obama explained that strategy by pointing out the significant amount of turnover that teams experience from year to year in college basketball, per Katz:
I have a tendency to pick the coach as much as anything, because typically these days, with one and done, what you see is continuity with the program. Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] or Coach [Tom] Izzo or Coach Self, Coach [John] Calipari, they know how to take even their blue-chip freshmen and mold them, so that by the time the tournament comes around they're ready. I haven't always picked the right top four teams, but typically it's been one of the top teams that's ended up winning the tournament.
The president made very few upset selections in his bracket, with No. 13 Hawaii over No. 4 California standing out. Obama was born in Hawaii, which may have played a role in his pick.
He also went with a few minor seeding upsets, including first-round victories for a trio of No. 10 seeds in Syracuse, Pittsburgh and VCU.
In addition to Kansas and North Carolina, the POTUS rounded out his Final Four with second-seeded Michigan State and a minor surprise in the form of No. 3 Texas A&M.
The president is looking to score a bounce-back performance this year, as his 2015 bracket ranked in just the 39.5 percentile in the ESPN Men's Tournament Challenge last year, per Sports Media News.
While the 2015-16 season has been among the most unpredictable college basketball campaigns in recent memory, President Obama largely believes in the high seeds.
It's certainly a safe and logical strategy. But there will inevitably be upsets, so the president must simply hope that the teams he has going deep in the tournament avoid early exits.
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