NCAA Bracket 2021: Updates on President Obama, Jay Bilas and Experts' Brackets

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

NCAA Bracket 2021: Updates on President Obama, Jay Bilas and Experts' Brackets

0 of 3

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The first round of the 2021 men's NCAA tournament hadn't even concluded on Saturday before the last of the perfect brackets were busted. That happened just 28 contests into the action. 

    This year has been one of the strangest on record in college basketball, and the tournament hasn't been an exception. 

    Friday's action brought us the shocking upset by No. 15 Oral Roberts over No. 2 Ohio State, as well as No. 13 North Texas' win over No. 4 Purdue and No. 12 Oregon State's win over No. 5 Tennessee. Underdogs Rutgers (No. 10) and Syracuse (No. 11) also pulled off victories. After Friday's carnage, only 121 perfect brackets remained, according to the NCAA

    The hits kept coming on Saturday. Things started off somewhat as expected in the early games, but the afternoon slate brought us No. 13 Ohio's upset of No. 4 Virginia, after which only three perfect brackets remained. With No. 10 Maryland beating No. 7 UConn, the last perfect brackets were officially busted. 

    But how did the experts and analysts fare? Let's take a look at President Obama, Jay Bilas and experts' brackets and see how each has done ahead of the Sweet 16 beginning Saturday.

President Obama

1 of 3

    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Even after he left the White House, President Barack Obama continued his habit of filling out NCAA tournament brackets each March. His 2021 bracket is far from perfect, but he's gotten quite a few things right. 

    In the men's tournament this year, Obama was feeling chalky when it came to his Final Four, but he pegged a surprising number of double-digit upsets in the early rounds. 

    According to the NCAA, all four No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Final Four only once, in 2008 (since the 64-team expansion in 1985). Still, Obama tabbed Gonzaga, Michigan, Baylor and Illinois to make it, with the Bulldogs taking it all. Of the four, only Illinois has been bounced thus far. 

    Obama went with some 'dogs in the early rounds, picking seven double-digit seeds to advance. He correctly predicted No. 13 Ohio would upset reigning national champion and No. 4 Virginia, as well as No. 10 Maryland's win over No. 7 UConn and No. 10 Rutgers' win over No. 7 Clemson. 

    His upset picks of No. 12 UC Santa Barbara, No. 12 Georgetown, No. 11 Michigan State and No. 10 seed Virginia Tech did not pan out. 

    In his women's tournament bracket, Obama went with Baylor to win it all, but not before also finding some luck with No. 10 seeds in the first round, picking them to win over the No. 7 seeds in each region.

Jay Bilas

2 of 3

    Paul A. Hebert/Associated Press

    Each year, ESPN's Jay Bilas has the unenviable task of having to fill out a bracket live on air in less than five minutes immediately following the NCAA men's tournament selection show. 

    After that, though, he is able to sit down and analyze the bracket so that the rest of us—if we were so inclined—could copy it.

    If that's what you did this year, you're not doing too badly as a result. 

    When it comes to his Final Four, Bilas' bracket (which isn't actually a bracket, but rather, picks for every matchup) is still afloat with three of four picks remaining. 

    Like most everyone, Bilas had No. 1 Illinois in his Final Four, but his other three picks—No. 1 Baylor, No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Alabama—are still alive, with Gonzaga winning the national championship. 

    Like Obama, Bilas also picked an impressive number of the first-round upsets, doing especially well with the 10 seeds. He correctly had No. 13 Ohio, No. 10 Maryland, No. 11 UCLA, No. 11 Syracuse and No. 10 Rutgers advancing. 

    There's a reason both Obama and Bilas were high on Rutgers this year; the Scarlet Knights were on their way toward their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1991 in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on March Madness.

    Unfortunately, however, that's where the feel-good story stopped, as Rutgers fell to No. 2 Houston on Sunday.

Other Experts' Brackets

3 of 3

    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Like Obama and Bilas, Seth Davis took some swings at a few double-digit seeds to upset in the first round; however, he struck out on many of them, and it has hurt his bracket's standing as a result.

    Like both Obama and Bilas, he correctly picked No. 13 Ohio and No. 10 Rutgers to advance out of the first round. However, his picks of No. 12 UC Santa Barbara, No. 10 VCU, No. 12 Georgetown, No. 14 Colgate and No. 12 Winthrop did not turn out.

    Davis' national champion, Gonzaga, is still alive, but he had Illinois making it to the national championship. 


    Like Davis, Bilas and Obama, Gary Parrish also picked Gonzaga to win it all. His Final Four of No. 1 Baylor, No. 1 Illinois, No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Alabama is identical to Bilas'.

    Parrish was a bit more conservative than the others in his first-round upsets, going with the favorites more often, though he did correctly pick No. 11 Syracuse and No. 10 Rutgers in the Midwest Region. This was the bracket to follow for those who were looking to pay it safe, but aside from missing some juicy first-round upsets, Parrish's bracket has rewarded him by remaining healthy ahead of the Sweet 16. 


    Unlike the other experts previously mentioned, Mike DeCourcy took a gamble in selecting a team that was not a No. 1 or No. 2 seed for his Final Four—and it didn't pay off.

    He also had No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Alabama, and No. 1 Illinois making it through but then selected No. 4 Purdue in the South Region, which, as we know, was bounced by No. 13 North Texas in the first round. Oops.

    It's a shocking upset few saw coming, the same as those who had No. 2 Ohio State in their Final Four. But it has put DeCourcy's bracket in precarious shape before we even hit the Sweet 16.