The Kansas men’s basketball team met President Barack Obama on campus in 2015.
If the president’s bracket picks are right this time, the Jayhawks will meet him again this year: At the White House.
Obama, continuing a tradition he started with ESPN in 2009, made the last NCAA Tournament picks of his presidency Wednesday and chose Kansas to win the national championship. He previously picked KU to win it all in 2010 and 2011, when the Jayhawks were bounced in the second round and Elite Eight as No. 1 seeds.
“I know he’s not always accurate,” KU forward Landen Lucas said before the Jayhawks practiced Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena.
Never miss a local story.
Obama’s only correct champion came in 2009, when he picked the Tar Heels. This year he’s got KU over North Carolina in the final.
“Bill Self owes me,” Obama said. “Coach, I’m just teasing, I’m not putting pressure on you. But I think the Jayhawks in a squeaker.
“I started off making the right pick. I’m going to end making the right pick.”
Self said Wednesday he “wasn’t that giddy about” Obama’s selection.
“He will blame me for ruining his pool if things don’t work out,” Self said.
Obama also picked Texas A&M, over Duke, and Michigan State, over Virginia, to reach the Final Four. He chose North Carolina to beat West Virginia and the Jayhawks to reach Houston by beating Villanova.
“They haven’t been flawless all year,” Obama said of KU, “but they’ve been steady.”
Obama came to Lawrence on Jan. 22, 2015, becoming the fourth U.S. president to visit KU. He also stopped to talk to the basketball team.
“It was crazy,” KU forward Jamari Traylor said.
Traylor, who is from Chicago, where Obama lived before moving to the White House, said he found out about the president’s pick from roommate Wayne Selden, who was mentioned as one of KU’s key players by Obama during his ESPN interview.
“Hopefully we don’t disappoint him,” Traylor said.