For the second time in his four-year term, President Barack Obama believes the North Carolina Tar Heels are going to win the NCAA basketball championship.
Obama, who has filed a bracket exclusively with ESPN every year since he has been in office, predicts a Final Four of North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio State, with the Tar Heels defeating the Wildcats in the national championship game. The president correctly pegged UNC as the eventual national champion before the 2009 tournament.
"I am just a sucker for the Tar Heels," Obama said. "I love the way [Kendall] Marshall handles the ball, the way he distributes. They just have a balanced team. I am worried about [John] Henson [who is battling a wrist injury]. This is all a premise that Henson is going to be able to play."
Obama was more than a bit hesitant to take chances in his bracket, predicting New Mexico to be the only team not seeded 1-4 to make the Sweet 16. He has the fifth-seeded Lobos upsetting No. 4 seed Louisville in the round of 32.
"I am generally somebody who is rooting for the underdog, but this year when I look at the Big Ten, when I look at the Big 12, at some of the conferences, there are just a lot of excellent teams that are pretty balanced," Obama said. "I think that is going to get them through."
Along with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama attended Tuesday night's opening round game in Dayton, Ohio, between Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. It was the first time a sitting president attended an NCAA Tournament game since President Bill Clinton attended the 1994 national championship game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and Duke Blue Devils.