The onset of March Madness marked the last time in his presidency that Barack Obama will fill out a bracket.
An avid basketball fan, Obama has publicly filled out a bracket each year in office. But the president has only correctly picked the champion once, when the University of North Carolina won in 2009, Obama’s first year in office. He picked 20 out of 32 first-round outcomes correctly that year.
Let’s just say if the president was in an office pool, according to his bracket history, he’d be adding to the national debt.
This year the president has selected No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks to win it all; he also picked them in 2010 and 2011. The pick isn’t farfetched; Kansas has a 17 percent chance to win the tournament, according to ESPN, four percent more than any other team in the tournament.
Obama favors top-seeded teams, like many March Madness bracket players. A total of 16 of the last 24 No. 1 seeds he’s selected have made it to the final four.
He also selected No. 13 seed Hawaii, his native state, to upset No. 4 seed Cal in the opening round. The president named a few smaller upsets, including No. 10 seeds Syracuse, Pittsburgh and VCU.
Most first-round upsets occur in matchups between No. 12 seeds and No. 5 seed, according to Pomeroy College basketball statistics. Since 1985, the No. 12 seed has won versus the No. 5 seed 44 out of 124 times.
Obama selected a double-digit seed to the Sweet Sixteen only once in his presidency, when he advanced No. 12 seed North Carolina State to that round in 2012. His prediction, as it turned out, was correct.
Obama hopes to fare better this year after finishing in the 39.5 percentile among all brackets last year, according to ESPN. The president deserves a pass, however: the odds of a perfect bracket are 1 in 1,610,543,269, according to Vox.com.