Twice during his presidency, Barack Obama welcomed the Duke Blue Devils to the White House to commemorate their NCAA men’s basketball championship victories.
On Wednesday, the former president said he thinks current President Joe Biden will need to make similar accommodations.
A noted basketball fan who has publicly picked NCAA Tournament brackets for more than a decade, Obama revealed his annual men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament brackets. His predicted men’s winner? Duke.
According to Obama, Duke, Baylor, Houston and UCLA will advance to the Final Four at Houston’s NRG Stadium next month. He predicts Houston and Duke to meet for the title, with the Blue Devils knocking off the hometown favorite Cougars.
On the women’s side, Obama picked South Carolina to win the championship for the second consecutive year. He has ACC champion Virginia Tech making the women’s Final Four in Dallas, along with Stanford, Indiana and South Carolina.
Duke (26-8) won the ACC men’s tournament championship last Saturday night in Greensboro.
Seeded No. 5 in the East Region, Duke opens NCAA Tournament play on Thursday at 7:10 p.m., against No. 12 seed Oral Roberts. A win would move the Blue Devils into Saturday’s second round against either No. 4 seed Tennessee or No. 13 seed Louisiana.
Under coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke won NCAA championships in 2010 and 2015 during Obama’s tenure in the White House. A player on the 2010 team that visited the White House, Jon Scheyer replaced the retired Krzyzewski last April as Duke’s head coach.
Obama’s picks, while entertaining, are not often reliable. Last year, he had Gonzaga, Arizona, Kentucky and Kansas in his Final Four with Gonzaga winning the title. Only Kansas, which won the championship, made the Final Four among his picks.
He also picked Gonzaga to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The Zags actually made the Final Four but lost to Baylor in the final.
Other celebrity picks
Former President Obama wasn’t the only notable name to weigh in on the brackets, as usual. Former Duke standout Paolo Banchero — as expected — also picked Duke to cut down the nets. He has Gonzaga, Houston and Creighton joining the Blue Devils in the Final Four.
Legendary Grammy-nominated rapper Snoop Dogg picked his hometown UCLA Bruins to win it all this season, though he, too, has Duke in the Final Four, along with Alabama and Houston.
WWE Superstar The Miz has Houston winning it all in its hometown. He picked No. 1 seeds Alabama and Kansas to join the Cougars in the Final Four, along with (we’re sensing a theme here) Duke.
Britt Baker, of AEW wrestling fame, also sees Duke in the Final Four, with Alabama hoisting the trophy. She has Gonzaga and Penn State playing in Houston, as well.
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