To the countless number of ways in which our current president is unlike his immediate predecessor, you can add this: Donald Trump is not filling out a March Madness bracket for ESPN.
Of course, that short-lived presidential tradition had been so appealing because, as ESPN analyst Andy Katz explained, “President Obama follows basketball and is passionate about the sport. He wasn’t as dialed in to every player or team but had conversational knowledge to offer his own analysis on the NCAA tournament for the men’s and women’s game. Baracketology was a success because it was clear he was a fan of the sport and the NCAA tournament, like millions of other Americans.”
Donald Trump, of course, follows other sports.
But if not on the basis of passion or knowledge, aren’t you dying to know how President Trump might have filled out his bracket?
Fortunately, I just started spring break and am looking for things to distract me from grading. So here’s one possible set of strategies consistent with what we know about our 45th president:
1. Liberty University wins every game.
2. Alas, a 3rd place finish in the Big South Conference couldn’t get the Flames into the NCAA (or NIT) tournament. But as Jerry Falwell, Jr. knows, Pres. Trump is as loyal to those who support him as he is unrelentingly hostile to his critics, so we’ll fall back on this simple test to get started: if the teams in any match-up represent states that fell on opposite sides of the electoral map last November, the Red state wins. If they’re both Blue or both Red, we’ll move on to a second criterion…
3. America loves winners. And its president hates losers. So how’s this for a tiebreaker: whichever team has won more NCAA championships moves on to the next round?
4. Whatever else he has said, Pres. Trump has made clear that he’s going to protect American jobs from foreign competition. I can only assume that the same principle would hold for athletic scholarships. So if one team has more international players on their roster than their opponent, they’re finished.
5. If we still haven’t picked a winner, we’ll belatedly remember that this is a competition involving institutions of higher learning… and pick whichever university has the higher-ranked business school.
6. And if that somehow still leaves us undecided, then we’ll settle things with an #AlternativeFact or a presidential whim.
And all that produces the following bracket:
A few highlights from our process:
Blue/Red State solved almost every match-up. But Gonzaga, Arizona, Louisville, and Oregon paid the price for outsourcing so much American
workstudent-athleticism to foreign players. (Sad!) Wichita State/Dayton had to be settled by the #AlternativeFact that liberal Minnesota governor Mark Dayton is named after his alma mater.
Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight
Two match-ups went all the way to the business school tiebreaker. Trump would hate to see the all-American boys of either North Dakota or Xavier lose, and neither business school cracks the rankings for U.S. News. But only losers cave in to bleeding hearts and their fake news enablers, so UND: you’re fired. Then Vanderbilt’s top 25 MBA program carries it all the way to Glendale.
But winners win. So while Duke blows out Vandy, the SEC gets the last laugh. Coach Rupp’s school will cut down the nets for the 9th time. Count on it.