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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:

Barack Obama's 2023 men's March Madness bracket. (Via the Obama Foundation)
Barack Obama's 2023 men's March Madness bracket. (Via the Obama Foundation) (Obama Foundation)

And the women:

Barack Obama's 2023 women's March Madness bracket. (Via the Obama Foundation)
Barack Obama's 2023 women's March Madness bracket. (Via the Obama Foundation) (Obama Foundation)

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.