In true March Madness tradition, former President Barack Obama has shared his NCAA Tournament picks for this year — a ritual that he started after taking the Oval Office in 2009. Since then, he has continued to post his picks over the years.

This time around, while Obama stuck to a fan favorite for the woman’s side, he is going with a blue blood program on the men’s side. “It’s the best time of year! My #MarchMadness brackets will get busted soon enough, but here are my picks. Who do you have winning it all?” he captioned his tweet. Check out his picks:

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His choice of Duke for the winner on the men’s side has raised a few eyebrows on social media. Some of them were quick to express their surprise.


Duke has five national championships in its history. They tied for fourth all-time. The Blue Devils have never won the tournament since Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement. They will need to win the NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed if they want to turn Obama’s prediction into reality.

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Obama has Duke beating No. 12 Oral Roberts, No. 4 Tennessee, No. 8 Memphis, and No. 7 Michigan State in the East Region en route to the Final Four. He predicts Duke will beat No. 3 Baylor in the Final Four and No. 1 Houston for the national title.

In the men’s tournament, the Duke Blue Devils start their season with a game against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. Obama’s pick in the women’s tournament, the South Carolina Gamecocks, will play against the Norfolk State Spartans as they look to defend their crown.

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Obama often played basketball in his youth and highlighted his love for the sport during his tenure in the White House. “Even though I never had the talent to play at the highest level, basketball still shaped my life. It taught me how to work hard, how to compete, how to be part of a team,” he told the NBA’s website in 2021.