President Obama has not had a good week. And we’re not just talking about his lack of communication on Libya, getting locked out of the White House or Vice President Biden putting a reporter in a closet. We’re talking NCAA Tournament. Last week I wrote that the president — who chose all 1-seeds to advance to the Final Four — had filled out a March Madness bracket that was completely devoid of his key campaign messages of hope and change. I called his Sweet 16 choices “a predictable nod to entrenched power.” Hey, I take my politics and my basketball very seriously.
Funny thing happened. Actual hope and change broke out in a big way when 11-seed Virginia Commonwealth and 8-seed Butler exceeded all expectations and advanced to the Final Four. Call them the Egypt and Tunisia of this year’s NCAA Tournament. No one saw them coming and everyone is thrilled about what they did. Also, no one can point to either of them on a map.
A quick review of the Basketball-Fan-In-Chief’s bracket:
— The president whiffed on the Final Four, going oh-for. In his defense, he is not alone. Just look at your office pool. There are probably a lot of oh-fors.
— Obama aced the East and West brackets in the Elite Eight, choosing seven of eight correctly. He missed on Marquette, picking higher-seeded Syracuse instead.
— The president was almost perfect in the West Region, where he predicted every game correctly until Arizona upset Duke. It was a very impressive run.
— Otherwise, the president’s bracket probably looked a lot like yours — a complete mess.
One final note. The Harvard nerds I mentioned in my original story predicted the following teams had a better-than-49-percent chance of winning their opening round games: Marquette, Virginia Commonwealth and Richmond. All three won and advanced to the Sweet 16. VCU, of course, is in the Final Four. Props to the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective.