Press Release

Posted by Michael Humes on March 20, 2013

President Obama Picks Indiana over Louisville for Men’s Title

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Downloadable photos

Video of Exclusive Interview and President Obama’s Entire Men’s Bracket on ESPN.com
Barack-etology: Features of President Obama Filling out Brackets on SportsCenter: Women’s to Debut Friday, March 22, at 9 a.m. & Men’s to Re-air throughout Week Across Platforms
Notable Quotes from Interview with Andy Katz

On Tuesday, March 19, President Barack Obama filled out his bracket predictions for the 2013 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments with ESPN’s Andy Katz. His picks for the men’s tournament were revealed in an exclusive interview during the 9 a.m. ET edition of today’s SportsCenter. President Obama is predicting Indiana will defeat Louisville in the National Championship Game.

He also filled out his women’s bracket with Katz, picking a Final Four of Baylor, California, Connecticut and Notre Dame. That segment will debut on SportsCenter on Friday, March 22, at 9 a.m. and will re-air throughout the day. Both interviews will also be available on ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile platforms, and on subsequent editions of SportsCenter and various ESPN platforms, following the debuts.

This marks the fifth straight year President Obama has completed a men’s bracket exclusively with ESPN and the fourth he has publicly provided his bracket for the women’s tournament. Katz – an ESPN.com senior writer, on-air reporter, and host of ESPNU’s Katz Korner and The Experts – conceived the idea of the President filling out a bracket on-air following an interview with him in 2008. He has conducted the interview with the President on his tournament predictions all five years.

The president’s entire men’s bracket, the feature that debuted on today’s SportsCenter, and a behind-the-scenes video of the White House and President Obama making his picks are available on ESPN.com. ESPN.com will post the interview of President Obama completing his women’s bracket with Katz following the original airing on SportsCenter on Friday, March 22, at 9 a.m.

For the first time, ESPNU will televise Tournament Countdown: Barack-etology on Wednesday, March 20, at 5:30 p.m. The special program will include additional footage, behind-the-scenes access and additional bracket analysis.

In 2012, President Obama’s men’s bracket ranked 2,347,421 out of 6.45 million entries, placing him in the 63.6th percentile. He correctly had Kentucky in the championship game, but picked North Carolina to win it all. President Obama placed in the 79th percential of his women’s bracket entry last year.

Tournament Challenge History
Last year, the Men’s Tournament Challenge game was again the most popular bracket game in the nation, with nearly 6.45 million brackets, up 8.9 percent compared to the previous year and setting a new record.  At the peak period, fans registered 6,340 brackets per minute (105 brackets per second), among those of which was a bracket from President Barack Obama.

Both the Men’s Tournament Challenge and Women’s Tournament Challenge games return for their 16th seasons and are free for fans to submit up to ten entries on ESPN.com. Participants complete and submit a bracket of forecasted tournament game outcomes and points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the tournaments progress. Entries for the Men’s Tournament Challenge game will be accepted until just prior to the tip-off of the Tournament’s first game on Thursday, March 21.  The Women’s Tournament Challenge will accept registration until just prior to tip-off of the first game on Saturday, March 23.

Notable Quotes from Katz’s Interview with President Obama:

On Minnesota over UCLA:
President Obama: UCLA lost a key player. Minnesota has been playing tough. And I think [head coach] Tubby Smith’s team is going to do pretty well.

On Michigan State over Memphis:
President Obama: I just don’t bet against [Michigan State coach Tom] Izzo, at least not this early.”

On Wisconsin over Kansas State
President Obama: There will be a theme here, and that is I really do think the Big Ten was far and away the best conference this year.

On New Mexico over Belmont:
President Obama:I was tempted on this one to pick Belmont, but I think it’s too big of a stretch, so I’m going with New Mexico.

On Notre Dame’s uniforms that debuted in the BIG EAST Tournament:
President Obama: “That’s one reason why they shouldn’t go anywhere. I am wearing a green tie today because we’ve got the Irish Prime Minister visiting, but that neon-glow thing wasn’t working for me.”

On Kansas over North Carolina:
President Obama: I think this will be a close game. NC came on strong at the end, and obviously, I love Roy Williams, he’s a great coach. But they’re still a little young.

On Michigan over VCU:
President Obama: “This is tough because I love [VCU] coach [Shaka] Smart. I mean, I think he’s one of the best young coaches out there. I know I’m not alone in that. But I think Trey Burke and the rest of the crew will be able to overcome VCU.” 

On Syracuse over UNLV:”
President Obama: “Good match, but I like Syracuse mainly because [Vice President Joe] Biden told me that if I didn’t pick them he wouldn’t talk to me.”

On Miami over Illinois:
President Obama: “It’s tough to pick against my home state, but Miami looks good this year.”

On Wisconsin over Gonzaga:
President Obama: This is where my Big Ten bias comes through. Even though [Kelly] Olynyk is a great big man, he’s got great hair and does a great job. I think Wisconsin is going to pull off the upset.” 

On Florida over Georgetown:
President Obama: “This one I wrestled with. On the original sheet I had this crossed off back and forth, but in the end I think actually Florida is probably the stronger team.”

On Ohio State over Wisconsin:
President Obama: “Even though I love Wisconsin, had the chance to meet those young men when I was up there. Really nice guys. But I’m going to have to go with Ohio State. I think [Aaron] Craft’s defense is unbelievable. And I think that makes a big difference.

On Florida over Michigan:
President Obama: “I’m going with Florida.  I don’t want people thinking that I’m only Big Ten all the time.”

On championship game of Indiana and Louisville:
President Obama: I think these are the two best teams right now. And for the championship, I’m going back to the Big Ten. I think this is Indiana’s year.

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