After all the talk that President Obama is spending more time on his NCAA bracket than meeting his deadline to produce a budget, Mr. Obama says he has little to show for it and that his tournament picks are faring poorly.
“Busted,” he said in response to a reporter’s questions about what he thinks of his March Madness predictions.
However, Mr. Obama actually is doing quite well, his bracket only hurt where nearly everybody else’s was too. Eleven of Mr. Obama’s final Sweet Sixteen teams are still in the tournament and his final four are all still competing.
His choices in the West region were pretty far off the mark, with only one of the four teams left standing among the ones he predicted (Ohio State). However, the West region was filled with upsets — only one of the top 5 seeds (those same Buckeyes) surviving the first two rounds of play.
Mr. Obama’s men’s bracket was almost entirely what sports fans call “chalk” — meaning a preference for the favored, higher-seeded teams. His Sweet Sixteen predictions in three of the four regions were the 1-4 seeds in that part of the tournament, and in the other, it was the 1, 2, 3 and 5 seeds.
He told the reporter that he has higher hopes for the women’s teams he selected.
“I think my women’s bracket’s done much better than my men’s bracket,” he said.
However his women’s bracket is only slightly more accurate. In his picks for the women’s tournament, his Final Four teams are all still alive, just as in the men’s competition. And of the 16 remaining teams, he correctly picked 12, just one more than for the men.
Republicans have repeatedly assailed Mr. Obama for spending time making basketball predictions while failing to produce a budget blueprint on time.
“Do you realize he’s never received one vote for any of his previous budgets?” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said last week. “If he can pick one winner right in the brackets, he’s trumped what he’s able to do on getting votes for his own budget.”