From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The president is set to unveil his NCAA tournament picks at noon ET on ESPN. The sports network gave a tease this morning revealing Obama's Final Four picks: Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina. (We'll update when we see the full bracket.)
Since the president waded into this policy area, it's an excuse for me to do so as well.
My four: Wake, UConn, Pitt, UNC. Wake was the top seeded team in the country not too long ago. That said, of course, Louisville could roll, but that could shape up to be a good Sweet 16 game IF Wake survives Cleveland State. Beware, Gary Waters' squad is really tough. And, out on a limb, I like West Virginia to beat Kansas and Michigan St. to get to the Elite Eight. But the Midwest bracket is tough to call. UConn-Memphis would be a great game, and a contrast of styles. Memphis would have a chip on its shoulder, but the bruising of the Big East could pay off here. To win it all -- Carolina over UConn.
What are your picks?
*** UPDATE *** From NBC's Mark Murray: My picks are the exact same as Domenico's -- Wake, UConn, Pitt, and UNC. And I also have Carolina beating UConn in the finals. Looks like those first- and second-round games will determine who beats whom in our NBC pool.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Here's the president's full NCAA Bracket. (For those surprised Obama would do this, he did two during the campaign, so it should be expected. His brother-in-law is the head coach at Oregon State and basketball played a prominent role during the 2008 campaign in hoops happy states like Indiana and North Carolina.)
In his picks, Obama appears to have done what we all do -- change our minds. Some notable cross outs: going with UNC over Louisville after first picking Louisville to win it all; picking Carolina over Pitt after first writing in Pitt in the Final Four; Florida St. over Xavier; VCU over UCLA; Oklahoma over Clemson; Missouri over Marquette; and Tennessee over Oklahoma St. Obama also appears most clear-eyed on the bracket that many are calling the toughest to predict -- the Midwest.
Here's the White House Blog post with other photos.
*** UPDATE 3 *** The president isn't the only one to fill out a bracket. Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell released his as well. He's running a "Bracket Madness." (John McCain also promoted his bracket competition.) And, of course, he puts VCU in the Elite Eight. It is possible though -- and could have been a popular sleeper pick if they wouldn't have to play Villanova in Philly, as Mark Murray points out.