Des Moines, IA — A handful of naysayers have chosen not to pick Kansas as the national champion this season, but President Barack Obama is not one of them. This morning, Obama filled out his bracket and chose Kansas as his national champion.
While Kansas coach Bill Self said he was excited about this year’s return to the tournament, he didn’t jump out of his seat at the endorsement from the president when asked about the president’s pick at Kansas’ press conference ahead of its second round matchup against Austin Peay, which tips off Thursday at 3 p.m. central.
“I wasn’t that giddy about it at all,” Self said. “He’s done this before and then he will blame me for ruining his pool if things don’t work out. I think it’s fine.” “I’m fine with anybody picking us or not picking us. I know none of that matters at all, but I know our guys are chomping at the bit to go play.”
In 2010 and 2011, Obama also chose Kansas to win the title. “Bill Self owes me,” Obama joked to ESPN when filling in Kansas. “I’m putting Kansas in here. Coach, I’m just teasing. I’m not putting pressure on you. But I think the Jayhawks in a squeaker get past UNC.”
“I wasn’t that giddy about it at all,” Self joked. “He’s done this before and then he will blame me for ruining his pool if things don’t work out.”
Kansas will face 16-seeded Austin Peay to begin the tournament, a team that made the tournament on an impressive run which gives some hope to cause a stir in the big dance. The Governers at 18-17 are only one game above .500 and made the NCAA tournament by winning their conference tournament, in which they were seeded eighth.
Peay would have to create quite a stir, too. A 16-seed has never defeated a one-seed in NCAA tournament history. “Seeding is big and all, but it gives you the easiest route,” Junior forward Landen Lucas said in the press conference. “But as soon as the game starts, that all goes away and we’re just playing a team. We will be focused and ready to go, and once the ball is tipped I feel like most of that pressure that might be going into the game, it will go away.”
Tune into KJHK’s live broadcast of the game from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, at 3:00 p.m. Thursday. You can also follow KJHK Sports on Twitter for live updates.