Former President Barack Obama picks Duke, South Carolina to win men's and women's March Madness
Like millions of Americans, Barack Obama has filled out his 2023 March Madness brackets.
On the men's side, the former president went with No. 5 seed Duke as his national champion, a very popular pick among the lower seeds to win it all. He was less adventurous with the women, picking undefeated No. 1 overall seed South Carolina.
[Free bracket contests for both tourneys | Printable Men's | Women's]
Rounding out Obama's men's Final Four are No. 1 seed Houston, No. 2 seed UCLA and No. 3 seed Baylor, while each of the other three women's No. 1 seeds — Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford — were his other three women's regional champions.
Here's the full men's bracket:
And the women:
Obama picking Duke goes against his usual history of predicting champions, but continues another trend for him.
How Barack Obama's national champion picks have fared
As a No. 5 seed, Duke is the lowest-ranked team Obama has ever picked to win it all and it's only the third time he's picked a non-No. 1 seed since he began the tradition in 2009. It's not a surprise he would pick Duke itself, though, as he has only picked well-known basketball powers.
In 14 tournaments, Obama has picked UNC three times, Kansas three times, Michigan State twice, Gonzaga twice, Kentucky once, Indiana once and now Duke twice. Here's how that has worked out for him:
2009 — Pick: North Carolina | Winner: North Carolina
2010 — Pick: Kansas | Winner: Duke
2011 — Pick: Kansas | Winner: Connecticut
2012 — Pick: North Carolina | Winner: Kentucky
2013 — Pick: Indiana | Winner: Louisville
2014 — Pick: Michigan State | Winner: Connecticut
2015 — Pick: Kentucky | Winner: Duke
2016 — Pick Kansas | Winner: Villanova
2017 — Pick: North Carolina | Winner: North Carolina
2018 — Pick: Michigan State | Winner: Villanova
2019 — Pick: Duke | Winner: Virginia
2021 — Pick: Gonzaga | Winner: Baylor
2022 — Pick: Gonzaga | Winner: Kansas
He has been even more conservative picking the women's bracket, going with the No. 1 overall seed in 11 of 13 brackets and only ever picking UConn (eight times), Baylor (three times) and South Carolina (twice). That has worked out just fine for him, giving him six successful picks:
2010 — Pick: UConn | Winner: UConn
2011 — Pick: UConn | Winner: Texas A&M
2012 — Pick: Baylor | Winner: Baylor
2013 — Pick: Baylor | Winner: UConn
2014 — Pick: UConn | Winner: UConn
2015 — Pick: UConn | Winner: UConn
2016 — Pick UConn | Winner: UConn
2017 — Pick: UConn | Winner: South Carolina
2018 — Pick: UConn | Winner: Notre Dame
2019 — Pick: UConn | Winner: Baylor
2021 — Pick: Baylor | Winner: Stanford
2021 — Pick: South Carolina | Winner: South Carolina
South Carolina is an overwhelming favorite to give him a seventh successful prediction, as BetMGM has the Gamecocks as a -185 favorite to win it all. To put that in perspective, the Iowa State men's team, a No. 6 seed, is -185 to win its first game against No. 11 seed Pittsburgh.
Duke is a much longer shot at +3000, but there is plenty to like about the surging Blue Devils.