Barack Obama picks Duke men, South Carolina women to win March Madness originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Along with cutting down the nets and One Shining Moment, Barack Obama’s bracket reveals have become a March Madness tradition.
The former president started sharing his NCAA Tournament picks after taking the Oval Office in 2009, and he has continued to post his picks in the years since. This time around, Obama is rolling with a blue blood program on the men’s side and a resounding favorite on the women’s side.
Check out his picks here or below.
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Duke has five national championships in its history, tied for fourth all time. For the Blue Devils to win a title in their first year since Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement, they will have to do something that’s never been done before: win the NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed.
Obama has Duke beating No. 12 Oral Roberts, No. 4 Tennessee, No. 8 Memphis and No. 7 Michigan State in the East Region en route to the Final Four. From there, he predicts Duke will beat No. 3 Baylor in the Final Four and No. 1 Houston – in Houston – for the national title.
Along with Duke, Baylor and Houston, Obama rounded out his Final Four with No. 2 UCLA out of the West Region.
Obama foresees a handful of notable upsets in his men’s bracket. He has No. 13 Iona not only beating No. 4 UConn in the first round, but reaching the Sweet 16. No. 11 NC State, No. 11 Pitt and No. 12 VCU are also among his Cinderella contenders, though he doesn’t have any of those teams making it past the opening weekend.
In the women’s bracket, Obama went all chalk. He has all four No. 1 seeds – South Carolina, Indiana, Stanford and Virginia Tech – reaching the Final Four with South Carolina prevailing over Indiana in the title game. Dawn Staley’s South Carolina squad is a perfect 32-0 on the season and has a strong chance to win a second straight national championship.
Obama has every team seeded Nos. 1-5 making it to the second round in his women’s bracket. He has three No. 11 seeds reaching the second round, but he predicts they will all lose to No. 3 seeds in the second round.