Former President Barack Obama predicts some unrest in the first round, but only limited chaos late in the men’s and women’s tournament.
In the brackets he released on Thursday, chose former president Gonzaga to win the title for men, with a Final Four rounded off by the other number 1 seed: Baylor, Illinois and Michigan. In the women’s tournament, Obama predicted that Baylor would win the second championship, the national championship after a Final Four that would include Stanford and North Carolina, as well as Maryland, in second place.
Obama expects eight upheavals in the first round of the men’s tournament, including the 12 UC Santa Barbara over the no. 5 Creighton and the 13th Ohio over the fourth seeded Virginia.
And while that was not an upset choice, he predicted that No. 5 in Tennessee would beat Oregon State No. 12, where his brother-in-law was the men’s basketball coach for six seasons.
In a bracket that Gonzaga provoked against Illinois for the men’s title, there was at least one sign of a second thought. In the Southern region, Obama ranked No. 9 Wisconsin as a first-round pick and instead went along with North Carolina No. 8, which won a title during his presidency.
The former president’s crystal ball was apparently a little clearer for the women’s tournament, which begins Sunday in Texas: No scrapped selections. But he saw eight more setbacks in the first round, including the state of Michigan 10 versus the state of Iowa 7 and the South Dakota no. 11 in Oregon.
But even Obama’s choices sometimes filled with laughter over his predictions.
“Of course we are all hitting who we oppose,” Arella Guirantes, a guard for Rutgers, said Thursday. “But it’s cool to see him pick us in the first round.”