Are your 2011 NCAA brackets blank? March Madness predictions are the law of the land this time of year, and no one is granted federal immunity -- not even the leader of the federal government, President Barack Obama. As is the tradition, he ran through his NCAA bracket 2011 predictions on ESPN's SportsCenter this morning, and the leader of the free world is nothing if not persistent. Here are some highlights:
Sweet Sixteen. In the Southwest bracket, the President envisions a Kansas vs. Louisville match-up, and he's picked Kansas for the second straight year. Obama cites the Morris brothers' depth and experience. In what's perhaps our only local angle (sort of), the President also foresees a Purdue vs. Notre Dame game in which the former pulls it out. Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija will be displeased to hear this.
In the Southeast, which Obama labels as the weakest bracket, he's predicting a Pittsburgh vs. Kansas state showdown with Pittsburgh prevailing. He also chooses Florida to beat BYU thanks to the latter's loss of inside presence. And, in the East, POTUS prognosticates that an Ohio State vs. Kentucky match-up will see the Buckeyes to victory and, in a Syracuse vs. North Carolina shootout, he's sticking with Carolina -- a team he's picked before.
Back on the left coast, the President picks Duke over Arizona (one of his few picks not consistent with previous years' choices) and he's got UConn triumphing over San Diego State.
Elite Eight. The Prez stays with Kansas in a big game against Purdue. (There goes our local angle.) He also picks Pitt over Florida, Ohio State over North Carolina and Duke over UConn (because the latter is "too young.")
Final four. As you may have already heard murmurings of, Obama went all chalk for this stage of the tourney. Number One seeds will rule the day, per the President, with Kansas taking out Pitt and the Buckeyes blowing past Duke.
The Championship. Dorothy and Toto may not be in Kansas anymore, but Pres. Obama is. He's all in. Our Commander-in-Chief hath picked Kansas to beat Ohio State for the 2011 NCAA crown. The President jokingly noted that Kansas probably felt bad about losing for him last year, so they'll power through the storied tournament this time around.
If you're curious about 2010 NCAA tournament results, here's a full chart courtesy of the NCAA's own website. And for a quick video wrap-up of President Obama's picks last year, click here. Finally, of course, don't forget to pick up your SB Nation printable bracket. Good luck!