President Obama won the 2008 election despite getting trounced by 15 percent in the traditionally conservative state of Kansas.
He obviously has not held that against the state’s college basketball programs.
Obama selected Kansas and Kansas State to make the Final Four as he filled out his brackets on ESPN.
He has the Jayhawks beating the Wildcats in one national semifinal, despite calling Kansas State coach Frank Martin “a scary dude” that he should send “up to Congress to get them to vote for health care.”
Obama said he thinks the experience of Kansas guard Sherron Collins will carry the Jayhawks in the tournament.
“I always like teams in the tournament who’ve got experience,” Obama told ESPN’s Andy Katz. “Terrific guards.”
Obama picked Kentucky to knock off Villanova in the other national semifinal.
He called for the Wildcats to reach the title game in January, when he called coach John Calipari to congratulate the program’s efforts in raising more than $1 million for the relief effort in Haiti.
The president picked Siena, Cornell and Murray State to pull first-round upsets.
For the second straight year, Obama picked the betting favorite to win the national title, as he has Kansas defeating Kentucky.
He also filled out a women’s bracket, calling for Connecticut to repeat as national champion.
With Obama’s fervor for favorites, he might as well start filling out his brackets in chalk.
■ BLUE GRASS, NOT DEVILS — Haters of the Duke basketball program can be found just about anywhere, but the disgust runs particularly deep in Kentucky.
Fans in the Bluegrass State remember all too well Christian Laettner’s 1992 shot that sent the Blue Devils to the Final Four instead of Kentucky.
One politician is even trying to use an opponent’s Duke degree to win the Republican primary for a vacant Senate seat in Kentucky.
Kentucky secretary of state Trey Grayson launched an online ad Sunday hoping to associate his rival in an upcoming primary with the school from which he earned a degree.
“In March, there’s one big difference between Rand Paul and Trey Grayson,” the ad states.
It shows a picture of the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul with a caption that reads, “I’m Rand Paul, and I’m a Duke Blue Devil.”
■ OUCH — Bubble teams that get left out of the NCAA Tournament often feel as if they’ve taken a shot below the belt. This year’s National Invitation Tournament field is taking that to a new level.
Two players were ejected from first-round games Tuesday for punching opponents in the nether regions. The instances appear to be unrelated.
Seton Hall’s Herb Pope was the first to hit the showers early, when he threw a punch to the groin of Texas Tech’s Darko Cohadarevic early in the Red Raiders’ road win.
Jackson State’s Phillip Williams did his best to replicate the action on Mississippi State’s Dee Bost later in the evening.
If this is what happens in the NIT, one shudders to think what might happen in the College Basketball Invitational and Collegeinsider.com tournaments.
COMPILED BY ADAM HILL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL