Obama unveils March Madness brackets

(The Hill) -- Former President Barack Obama published his predictions for March Madness, weighing in on the college basketball playoff before it tips off Tuesday night.

Obama picked the University of Connecticut Huskies to win it all in the men’s tournament, throwing his support behind the No. 1 seed to go back-to-back and win the program’s sixth national title after winning it all last season.

The former president played it safe, only selecting the significant underdog in three first-round contests. He picked No. 11 New Mexico to knock off No. 6 Baylor, No. 13. Vermont to upset No. 4 Duke, and No. 11 North Carolina State to take down No. 6 Texas Tech.

All of the tournament’s four No. 1-seeded teams made the Elite 8 in Obama’s bracket, with the Final Four consisting of UConn, Baylor, Kentucky and Purdue.

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He discussed the picks in a guest appearance on the debut episode of the "Ways to Win" podcast, co-hosted by legendary Kentucky coach John Calapari, once a national champion with the Wildcats, and former Oregon State coach Craig Robinson.

“The first year I did this, 2009, I’d been sworn in, I picked North Carolina. This is the one with [Ty] Lawson and [Tyler] Hansbrough. And they won,” Obama said on the podcast. “My bracket was beautiful, and people were pretty impressed, they thought, ‘Look at the President of the United States he’s in the top four percent of all people who entered their brackets.’

“I was kinda feeling it, and I thought this was what was going to happen every year,” he continued. “I’m pretty sure each year I’ve lost since then.”

For the women’s tournament, Obama selected another No. 1 seed to take it all in South Carolina. In his bracket, the Gamecocks defeat the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes in the national championship game.

Fellow No. 1 seed University of Southern California also makes the Final Four, with No. 1 Texas falling to No. 4 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. No. 2 Stanford picks off Gonzaga to make the last Final Four spot, Obama predicted.

The podcast is produced by Higher Ground, Obama’s own media production firm.

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