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VIDEO: Obama on ESPN for Womens NCAA Tournament

Earlier this week ESPN unveiled President Obama’s bracket for the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. Earlier today they officially did the same for his bracket for the Womens Tournament.

You can also find his entry in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge. Will it do as well as his Mens Tournament bracket currently is which finds itself in the 99.9 percentile at the moment.
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For the 3rd straight year President Obama has filled out NCAA Tournament brackets for ESPN. 

ESPN College Basketball analyst Andy Katz (you can find his blog post here) was at the White House yesterday to host the segment for SportsCenter and the other ESPN platforms. The video is embedded below. Two years ago he correctly picked UNC to win the NCAA Tournament. Last year his pick of Kansas got knocked out in the second round.

You can find Obama’s brackets for both the Mens and Womens tournaments on the White House website. He will appear on SportsCenter again tomorrow morning with Doris Burke to unveil his Womens Tournament bracket. Earlier today on Sportscenter John Buccigross and Doug Gottlieb said that Obama’s signed bracket from two years ago is displayed in the ESPN cafeteria. I’ll post my bracket at some point between now and tip off on Thursday. Really struggling with it this year and coming out with a lot of chalk results and that is why I am not really surprised that Obama is going with the four #1s

Obama’s Mens Tournament Bracket for ESPN

Obama’s Womens Tournament Bracket

From ESPN’s SportsCenter earlier today. 

ESPN has entered Obama’s bracket as an entry into their Tournament Challenge. How well will he do? In a usual year I may have criticized Obama for going chalk with his bracket but in talking with other college basketball fans most of us are coming out with brackets very similar to his.
Andy Katz has had some nice exclusives with Barack Obama over the past few years.

Neil Best of Newsday pointed out, it is worth noting that Obama picked Kansas to win it all again. They are the only one of his Final Four teams that doesn’t play in a battleground state. Reid Wilson noted earlier today that one of Obama’s first round upsets is Marquette over Xavier (the alma mater of Speak John Boehner). I am not a of over analyzing the bracket from a political angle but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

What I absolutely have to laugh at is those who criticize Obama for filling out a NCAA bracket. A large chunk of the people criticizing him are probably in a office pool of their own. Just take a look at this clip from Fox “News”.

Just because Obama spent a small part of his day with ESPN we are to believe he is not paying attention to what is going on in the world? That sentiment is even more ridiculous when Obama asks people to donate to help the victims in Japan as part of his segments on ESPN. How many people do you think Obama reached out with that message by going on ESPN? I just don’t understand the people who act as though just because he is the President he shouldn’t do anything “normal”. I always point people out to this (and this).

One of the things I wanted to do on the show was, as people are filling out their brackets — this is obviously a national pastime; we all have a great time, it’s a great diversion.  But I know a lot of people are thinking how can they help the Japanese people during this time of need.  If you go to usaid.govusaid.gov — that will list all the nonprofits, the charities that are helping out there.  It would be wonderful for people to maybe offer a little help to the Japanese people at this time — as they’re filling out their brackets.  It’s not going to take a lot of time.  That’s usaid.gov.  It could be really helpful.

That is what Obama told ESPN about the events that are unfolding in Japan. What more do people want him to do? Do you have a problem with Obama filling out a bracket? Let me know here.

Houston Chronicle takes a look at just how hard it is to predict the NCAA Tournament. ESPN also takes an interesting look at the NCAA Tournament. I honestly had forgotten that it has been nine years since a #15 beat a #2.
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Obama plays favorites, picks all No. 1 seeds to reach NCAA men’s, women’s Final Four – The Washington Post

Obama plays favorites, picks all No. 1 seeds to reach NCAA men’s, women’s Final Four – The Washington Post

For the 3rd straight year President Obama has filled out NCAA Tournament brackets for ESPN. I am guessing the clips will air tomorrow on ESPN. I will post the videos when they become available. Two years ago he correctly picked UNC to win the NCAA Tournament. Last year his pick of Kansas got knocked out in the second round.

I’ll post my bracket at some point between now and tip off on Thursday. Really struggling with it this year and coming out with a lot of chalk results and that is why I am not really surprised that Obama is going with the four #1s.

Earlier today ESPN’s Andy Katz was spotted in the White House Briefing room by Sam Youngman of “The Hill” who is a big Kentucky Wildcats fan.
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Chicago Blackhawks at the White House

Earlier today President Obama welcomed the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks to the White House. As he mentioned in his remarks he’s welcomed a lot of teams and athletes to the White House but this one was different.

This one is a little sweeter. … It’s the first time during my presidency I get to welcome a world champion from my hometown, Chicago.

President Obama brought attention to Chicago’s history of long championship droughts.

Finally, I want to congratulate all the fans.  We have a proud tradition in Chicago of believing that no matter how long it takes, how much we have to endure, it’s only a matter of time before our team finally wins it all.  (Laughter.)  The waiting builds character.  We have a lot of character.  (Laughter.)   

The Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup in 1961 and that led President Obama to take a stroll down memory lane.

Now, I have to say, even by Chicago standards, 49 years, that’s a pretty long time.  (Laughter.)  To put that in perspective, the last time the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, a movie cost 69 cents.  JFK had just moved into the White House.  I was still in diapers.  (Laughter.)  And when the legendary Glenn Hall played goalie for the Hawks, he did it with a wooden stick and no mask.

To be honest as big a sports fan Barack Obama is I highly doubt he knows who Glenn Hall is. Since become President he has attended MLB, NBA, WNBA and NCAA events but the NHL has not received the same love from him. He hasn’t attended a Washington Capitals game despite them having one of the best players in the league Alex Ovechkin. He even passed up on watching the Blackhawks during their Stanley Cup run last year when he was on a trip to Chicago. 






Transcript of Obama’s remarks.


Obama received a #44 Blackhawks jersey as well as a replica of the Stanley Cup.

Photo courtesy of Getty 
Photo courtesy of Getty

Later in the day the team joined First Lady Michelle Obama on the White House lawn for an event that was part of “Lets Move” campaign. She received a Team USA jersey with name “FLOTUS” and the number 1 on the back from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and David Ogrean from USA Hockey. During the event the NHL announced a partnership with the “Lets Move” campaign. The NHL has launched a website to promote their efforts. Mike Memoli had a great line about FLOTUS and Bettman

Gary Bettman standing next to Michelle Obama. At least a 50-point approval gap between the two.

Actually a 50 point gap is being quiet generous to Gary Bettman. 
Getty Images




Hockey and politics mixed later in the day too at the Verizon Center for the 3rd annual Congressional hockey game.
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Obama welcomes the Blackhawks to the White House

At about 2:50 PM ET today Barack and Michelle Obama will welcome the Stanley Cup champions from their hometown of Chicago. The two will later join NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman outside for an event that is part of Michelle Obama’s “Lets Move” campaign.

EDIT: You can can see videos from the events here.

Chicago Blackhawks 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Champions Official Locker Room T-ShirtPatrick Kane Red Reebok Name and Number Chicago Blackhawks T-Shirt
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2010 NFL Conference Championship Predictions

I came back down to earth last week with a 2-2 record but I still hold a very respectable 6-2 record for the playoffs.

Collectively we had an average week at best.
Me: 2-2
Swarheit: 2-2
rkref: 2-2
spudsfan: 2-2
Rovitz: 2-2
Faraz: 2-2
Imran: 1-3
natthedem: 1-3

Here are the overall standings so far.

Me: 6-2
spudsfan: 5-3
Swarheit: 4-4 
rkref: 4-4
Rovitz: 4-4
Faraz: 4-4
natthedem: 4-4
Imran: 3-5
Here are the lines we will be using this week. 
Packers (-4) over the Bears
Jets (+3.5) over the Steelers
I am a big fan of old school rivalries. The Bears have had a great run but it ends this week. The Packers will win and cover. I just don’t think Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher will be able to make the Packers miserable enough. Hats off to Aaron Rodgers, he truly has taken that step into the top tier of NFL Quaterbacks. What a performance it was from the Packers last week against a very good Falcons team. I was watching “Sound FX” on NFL network this week and it showed that Mike Smith wanted to go for a Field Goal at the of the first half on the play that resulted in the pick 6 going the other way. He changed his mind after consulting with the offensive coordinator. That play ended up being the final nail in the coffin. The game time temperature is expected to be 18 degrees! It would have been better if there was also snow in the forecast. Don’t expect weather to be a problem for Aaron Rodgers.

In his career, including playoffs, Rodgers is 7-3 in games when the temperature is 30 degrees or below, according to ESPN Stats and Information. In those ten contests, Rodgers has 25 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, with a passer rating of 109.4. 

Barack Obama made some news this week by announcing his plans for Super Bowl Sunday.

“Oh, if the Bears are in the Super Bowl, we’re going.” 

He would be the first President to attend but like I have mentioned before, I don’t have a problem with his trips to sporting events because he is a legitimate fan
In case you haven’t heard, the New York Jets “CAN’T WAIT!” for this Sunday. Actually words don’t do it justice. I’ll let Bart Scott explain it better. 

As I mentioned last week, people just aren’t giving this Jets team any credit. This team did go 11-5 right? This team did just beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady the last two weeks, correct? The Jets did just become the first team in NFL history to win 2 road games in the playoffs in back to back years, correct? Their 2nd year Head Coach/Quarterback are 4-1 in their short playoff careers, correct? Once again I am going with the New York Jets to win outright. Not to turn this into a lecture of some sort but what more does this team need to do? I have had people tell me this week that Mark Sanchez will have his “deer in the headlights” moment this week. People do realize that he did play in the AFC Championship game last year right? Don’t get me wrong, the Steelers are a very good team and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them win but I just think the Jets are Super Bowl bound this year. It really has been one of those years for them. Earlier this year they became the first team in NFL history to win back to back road games in overtime. There have been people downplaying the Jets win in Pittsburgh earlier this season because Troy Polamalu missed that game. In the words of the ESPN’s NFL Countdown crew, “C’mon Man!”

Speaking of ESPN, have you guys been following the Tom Jackson debacle this week?

After a relatively quiet week the Jets have been calling out Hines Ward for his dirty play the last couple of days. ESPN New York notes that the two playoff wins so far this year are worth an extra $500,000 to Mark Sanchez. Rex Ryan is just the 5th coach in the Super Bowl era to make it to the Conference Championship game in his first two years. I’m hoping Tomlinson gets his first shot at a Super Bowl ring.

Other picks:
Swarheit – Packers and Steelers
Spudsfan – Packers and Jets
rkref – Packers and Jets
rovitz – Packers and Steelers
natthedem – Packers and Jets
Faraz – Packers and Jets
Imran – Packers and Steelers
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Barack Obama comments on Michael Vick

Barack Obama approves of Michael Vick’s return to the NFL.

I don’t know if Barack Obama originally intended to have this conversation become public but I like that he holds this position. I don’t know of many other public officials who would voluntarily come out and back Vick. Obama called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and commended him on giving Vick a chance. The conversation was confirmed by White House Spokesman Bill Burton:

The President did place a call to Mr. Lurie to discuss plans for the use of alternative energy at Lincoln Financial Field, during which they spoke about that and other issues. He of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of but, as he’s said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again.

I definitely approve of Vick’s return to the league. He paid his debt to society and then some. It is an amazing comeback story. It is not a stretch to say that he is the best player in the league right now. His jersey has been a hot seller once again. According to Darren Rovell of CNBC earlier in the season you could even customize a jersey for your dog with Vick’s name and number on it.

12/29/10 Edit:
Tucker Carlson is an idiot. He was guest hosting Tuesday night on Sean Hannity’s show so I guess he felt extra pressure to be a fool? Whatever his excuse his statement was absolutely ridiculous.

“I’m a Christian, I’ve made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances, but Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should’ve been executed for that. He wasn’t, but the idea that the President of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs?”

He went on to call Vick a “creepy rich overpaid football player.” Anyone else find it hilarious that he supports  Sarah Palin who’s a known hunter?

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Reebok Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick Men's Name & Number T-Shirt MediumMens Philadelphia Eagles #7 Michael Vick Road Premier Jersey - L

LeBron James returns to Cleveland

It is one of the most highly anticipated yet meaningless December basketball games in recent memory. Tonight, LeBron James will “take his talents to Cleveland” as a member of the Miami Heat.

As I said at the time, I have no problems whatsoever with the three of them deciding to team up. I was in the minority and didn’t really have a problem with the concept of “The Decision” prime time special. I also seem to be in the minority as far as their 2010-11 season is concerned. So many people have already written this team off. They are hovering around the .500 mark but why are people forgetting that the season isn’t even a quarter of way done yet? Would people really be shocked if they went 48-15 the rest of the way? This team has more than enough time to put together a good season and have a great playoff run.

I am not a Miami Heat fan, as a matter of fact I despise Pat Riley and never really liked Alonzo Mourning. I am a Raptors fan who lost Chris Bosh to this team. Yet, I find myself rooting for this team just because everyone else isn’t.

Even Barack Obama was asked about tonight’s game. 

How will the Cleveland crowd react tonight? Lets just hope they take somewhat of a high road and not embarrass their city. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see them boo LeBron all night long for the rest of his career (Vince Carter still hears boos in Toronto) but don’t disrupt the game. Keep your expletives to yourselves and don’t humiliate yourself on national television.

How will LeBron react tonight? He could go a long way towards calming things down today if he doesn’t come out in a confrontational mode. He needs to just let his play do the talking or it could get really ugly tonight. Who knows, if he goes off for 50 points tonight in a masterful performance he might even get some of the crowd back on his side. Regardless of the crowd reaction LeBron MUST act like the better man or he will face a major backlash from the media and possibly the fans around the league. He can not let the crowd get under his skin. LeBron James will either drop 60 points on the Cavs tonight or go 2–19 from the field. There is no middle ground.

There will be a heavier security presence tonight at the Q. How ugly do some in the league think tonight will be? The Heat travel plans for this have been kept secret.

In Cleveland, LeBron is now known as “Queen James”

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is on twitter. Looking forward to read what he has to say tonight. He did make a plea to the fans,

CavsFans: Remember 2 most import things 2nite: 1. That City, Fans, & all of us be our ‘finest’ w/eyes of world watching. 2. We get the WIN!

Who can forget his letter to Cleveland when LeBron left? 
Sports Illustrated provides a flashback to some recent “homecomings.” How about these pictures from Cleveland?
Any predictions for tonight? ESPN’s Streak for the Cash asks if LeBron will have more points tonight then the  Cavaliers will have field goals. I certainly would not rule that out as a possibility. It will be the first time this season that I will tune in to the start of an NBA game. The game tips off shortly after 8 PM Eastern on TNT. 

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Obama needs 12 stitches after being hit in lip

I’ve written about Barack Obama’s love for basketball in the past. He squeezes in a couple of hours of basketball on a fairly regular basis. While playing today he got elbowed in the face and received 12 stitches as a result of it. 


The White House released a statement today from the man who elbowed him. Rey Decerega, who works for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute said, 

“I learned today the president is both a tough competitor and a good sport. I enjoyed playing basketball with him this morning. I’m sure he’ll be back out on the court again soon.” 

The injury should make for interesting late night fodder in the next week. What is the over/under on the number of comedians and pundits who will question if Mr. Decerega is a Republican? Obama himself will surely make a joke about this when he meets Congressional Republicans next week.  


The Associated Press posted a picture of Obama putting a ice pack on his lips



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Saints have yet to visit White House | ProFootballTalk.com

There is a lot of ceremonial stuff that happens at the White House. As a sports fan though one of the coolest ones for me is when sports teams are honored at the White House. 


If you haven’t noticed yet, the New Orleans Saints have not yet visited the White House in honor of their Super Bowl win this year. Mike Florio of “Pro Football Talk” is reporting today that the delay is to be blamed on Saints owner Tom Benson. It should be noted that Tom Benson is a Republican. He’s backed both George W. Bush and John McCain in their Presidential bids. He’s also donated generously to the GOP.  

This is pretty low isn’t it? I can even excuse him somewhat for not wanting to go to the White House but why has he not flown his team to Washington yet? Heck, Barack Obama like most of the country hopped on the Saints bandwagon this past season. Has anyone else heard anything on this lately? Has any other owner tried something similar recently? I can’t recall one.


Read Mike Florio’s full story on this. Saints have yet to visit White House | ProFootballTalk.com



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