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Obama picks Bulls to upset Mountaineers

President Barack Obama, shown here during a 2013 visit to UB, has picked the Bulls to upset West Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Photo: Douglas Levere

By RACHEL STERN

Published March 18, 2015

Members of the UB men’s basketball team have many fans pulling for them on Friday — and one fan just happens to be the president of the United States.

President Barack Obama picked the Bulls to upset West Virginia in his annual NCAA Tournament bracket. Obama revealed his picks on ESPN’s SportsCenter Wednesday morning.

“I liked Bobby Hurley,” Obama said. “Seeing Hurley, how tough he was because he was not a big guy, but he was tough and scrappy, and that’s reflected in his team.”

Obama already knows the Bulls. He visited UB on Aug. 22, 2013 — the first time since 1853 that a sitting U.S. president spoke at the university — to announce a plan that he said would make college more affordable for middle-class students.

In his initial remarks, the president said, “Hello Buffalo! Hello Bulls! It is good to be back in Buffalo!”

So should UB fans sleep well knowing the president is on their side? Last year, Obama’s bracket finished in the 72.9 percentile overall, according to ESPN. His best finish since becoming president was in 2011, when he was in the 87.4 percentile.

UB takes on West Virginia at 2:10 p.m. ET on Friday in Columbus. The game will air on TNT.