Obama's 2014 NCAA Final Four picks: How good is 'Bracketologist-in-Chief'?

President Obama's NCAA Final Four consists of Louisville, Florida, Arizona, and Michigan State. How good is Obama's record on selecting NCAA finalists?

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
President Obama points out a student taking a selfie as he welcomes NCAA champion athletes to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington March 10, 2014. Invitees represented 19 sports often less-heralded than the NCAA's big-ticket football and basketball champions, such as soccer, lacrosse, golf, track and fencing.

President Obama, an avid basketball fan, revealed his NCAA Tournament 2014 Men's Final Four picks to ESPN.

His selection: The Louisville Cardinals, the Florida Gators, Arizona Wildcats, and the Michigan State Spartans.

Today, he also told ESPN that he expects Michigan State to beat Louisville in the finals.

The unspoken strategy behind his choices: Experience. All four of his 2014 picks have veteran players in leadership roles. And as in previous years, his choices are both savvy – and conservative.  Florida and Arizona are No. 1 seeds. Louisville and Michigan State are No. 4 seeds, but both have finished the season strong.

"I know these are not imaginative picks, but I think they're the right ones," Obama told ESPN.

How good is the president as "Bracketologist-in-Chief"?

He's had his ups and downs. On average, Obama has correctly predicted slightly under 30 percent of Final Four teams correctly, according to The Hill

In the times Obama has revealed his bracket, he has picked three different teams to win the national championship: Indiana (2013), Kansas (2011 and 2010) and North Carolina (2012 and 2009).

He got one right: North Carolina in 2009.

Last year, Obama picked Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State and Florida to reach the Final Four – and said that Louisville and Indiana would meet in the title game. He got half of the NCAA finals match right. But he told ESPN that Indiana would win it all.

The actual Final Four in 2013: Louisville, Wichita State, Syracuse, and Michigan. The winner: Louisville over Michigan.

In 2012, Obama correctly picked two of the Final Four teams: Kentucky and Ohio State. The winner: Kentucky over Kansas.

And in previous years, the president's powers of parquet prognostication weren't up to the challenge. He went 0 for 4 in 2010 and 2011.

The president's passion for college basketball has found another outlet on the White House website, where he's mixed "March Madness" with a last-minute pitch to boost the number of people who have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. There's now an ACA Bracket: "The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered." Visitors are encouraged to vote online.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.