DAYTON, Ohio – The most important basketball fan in the country says they are the favorites to win. Don’t think they didn’t notice.
“I know he’s got a lot going on in the White House,” said Indiana guard Victor Oladipo of President Barack Obama. “A whole lot of stuff I wouldn’t be able to tell you about.”
Yet with all of the responsibilities that comes with being the leader of America, President Obama took some time to fill out his bracket. He made his choices on ESPN this week and his pick to win the NCAA Tournament will be donning the Cream and Crimson for the first time in the East Region on Friday.
“To actually know who were are and actually know stuff about basketball is pretty good,” said Oladipo of the President picking the Hoosiers to win it all.
Word of that pick was a major topic of discussion as Indiana took the practice court at the UD Arena in Dayton for the first time this tournament season. The Hoosiers-the top seed in the East Region-are heavy favorites to beat 16th-seeded James Madison on Friday afternoon and many are counting on them to advance to the Regional Finals rounds in Washington D.C.
“Anytime you have the president running with you its a good thing,” said forward Christian Watford.
Still there is weight of expectation which comes with being on a team that is predicted by many to bring home a championship. Just two seasons ago the Hoosiers were in last place in the Big Ten Conference and now they sit at the top of the region, so many of the veterans are trying to feel more pride than pressure as the tournament begins.
“It’s definitely a lot different than it used to be,” said guard Jordan Hulls. “The first couple of years Christian and I were at Indiana playing then, but as far as that, we’re just excited to be here and excited for the opportunity.To be a No. 1 seed is a great honor.
“We’re just going to cherish the moment, enjoy it, and go out there and have fun and play hard.