President Obama Picks Kansas over Kentucky for Men’s Title, Connecticut over Stanford for Women’s
Video of Exclusive Interview and President Obama’s Entire Men’s & Women’s Brackets on ESPN.com
Barack-etology: Features of President Obama Filling out Brackets Available on SportsCenter: Women’s to Debut Friday, March 19, at 9 a.m. & Men’s to Re-air throughout Today and Thursday’s 1 a.m. and Morning Shows
Notable Quotes from Interviews with Andy Katz & Doris Burke
President Barack Obama is picking Kansas to defeat Kentucky in the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game April 5 and Connecticut to beat Stanford in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship April 6 on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET. He revealed the picks in an exclusive interview with ESPN.com senior basketball writer Andy Katz and ESPN basketball analyst Doris Burke on Tuesday, March 16.
The feature with Katz debuted today, Wednesday, March 17, at noon on SportsCenter and will re-air on every edition today (1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.) as well as Thursday’s 1 a.m. and subsequent morning shows, all on ESPN. President Obama filling out his women’s bracket with Burke will debut on SportsCenter, Friday, March 19, at 9 p.m. and will re-air throughout the day.
The president’s entire men’s and women’s brackets and the feature that debuted on today’s SportsCenter are available on ESPN.com. An extended video story of President Obama filling out his men’s bracket with Katz — approximately nine minutes — will be available on ESPN.com later today. ESPN.com will post the interview of President Obama completing his women’s bracket with Burke following the original airing on SportsCenter Friday, March 19, at 9 p.m.
This is the second straight year in which President Obama has completed a men’s bracket exclusively with ESPN and the first time he has publicly provided his bracket for the women’s tournament. President Obama’s brackets will appear alongside those from the millions of fans expected to play in ESPN.com’s ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by State Farm and Sprint and ESPN Women’s Tournament Challenge presented by Capital One.
In 2009, the Men’s Tournament Challenge was the most popular bracket game in the nation, with a record 4.6 million brackets, a 43 percent increase over 2008. Last year, President Obama correctly picked North Carolina to win the Tournament. His bracket ranked 903,125 overall, just above the 80th percentile in the ESPN Tournament Challenge.
Notable Quotes from Katz’s Interview with President Obama:
On the day he called Kentucky to thank the Wildcats for their fundraising efforts for Haiti earthquake relief:
Katz: And the day you called them, you told them.
President Obama: (Actual phone call of president calling Kentucky: “You guys stay focused. I expect to see you guys in the championship game at some point.”)
But I also told them, don’t get too cocky.
Katz: And they lost to the (South Carolina) Gamecocks.
President Obama: They lost to the Gamecocks and I think that was a good lesson for them … And I think … (Kentucky coach John) Calipari will have them ready.
On Kansas State Head Coach Frank Martin:
Katz: Have you seen (Kansas State coach) Frank Martin’s menacing glare?
Obama: I have! He’s a scary dude. I could send him up to Congress to get him to vote for health care.
On Ohio State
Katz: Now you were just in Ohio, and you mentioned Evan Turner.
President Obama: I did mention Evan Turner. And there’s no bias. I’m not trying to win Electoral votes in Ohio.
On Georgetown making a run
President Obama: Here, I like Georgetown.
Katz: Now, you saw Georgetown at their best when they crushed Duke.
President Obama: They don’t have any seniors on their team. They’re a young team. But I think they’re getting better. I think (Coach John) Thompson does a great job. So I’m feeling pretty good about Georgetown making a nice little run.
His thoughts on Kansas State
President Obama: I’ll tell you what, Kansas State impresses me. They always play tough. And I think they’re going to be motivated. They get to the Final Four.
On selecting Kansas
President Obama: Balanced team, they’ve got (Sherron) Collins in the backcourt. I always like teams in the Tournament who’ve got experience. Terrific guards.
On some first round matchups:
President Obama: I like Murray St, they’ve got a well-balanced team and they’re athletic. I like Cornell, which I think will give Kansas a run for its money, I think they have a terrific team. And Siena. Look, I feel bad for Purdue.
On his Championship game matchup:
President Obama: Final game. We got Kansas and Kentucky.
Katz: Rematch of the coaching department of 2008 when (current Kentucky coach) John Calipari was coaching Memphis against (Kansas coach) Bill Self.
President Obama: Against Bill Self, and I think, once again, Self wins. That’s the game right there. All right.
Highlights from Burke’s Interview with President Obama:
On Princeton ties:
Burke: We’ve got to revisit Princeton, because a man with your schedule, you don’t need husband of the year points, but you didn’t even advance her alma mater through to the second round.
President Obama: You know, Michelle went to Princeton, my brother-in-law went to Princeton, and so I’m surrounded by these Princeton Tigers who are always talking about Princeton, so I just decided – ENOUGH – I can’t be a booster all the time.
On the Connecticut Huskies:
President Obama: Well I’ve watched UConn. I saw them, they came here last year after they had won the Championship. Wonderful young women, obviously a great coach and a great program, and so I’ve been watching them throughout the season, and I think it’s fair to say that they’re the best team in all of sports right now.
On Tennessee-Connecticut rivalry
Burke: Before we move on, you realize there’s a bit of a Cold War between these two programs.
President Obama: Of course, I do
Burke: Now, no one in Women’s basketball would object to an executive order demanding that they play in the regular season – you’re OK with that, we’re OK with that.
President Obama: It is interesting. Doris, you’ve got to tell me the story, why is it that they don’t schedule a game during the regular season against each other since they’re the two top programs?
Burke: I think they care for each other as much as Republicans and Democrats.
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