With Obama support, Belmont fashionable pick
by David Climer, USA TODAY Sports
SALT LAKE CITY — Thanks but no thanks, Mr. President. Belmont didn’t need this particular executive order.
Just when you thought the Bruins might sneak into the West Regional with the element of surprise on their side, the First Fan picked them to upset Arizona.
“Yeah, I heard about that,” said Arizona swing man Kevin Parrom. “Obviously, we’re going to have a chip on our shoulder.”
Said Wildcats reserve forward Max Wiepking: “Sort of makes you want to vote Republican.”
For Belmont, this kind of recognition from the White House is a double-edged sword. You appreciate the publicity but you’d just as soon not rattle the Wildcats’ cage. Not only did President Obama pick the Bruins, but CBS analyst Seth Davis and various other high-profile bracket-pickers followed suit.
“Just the fact that the President knows anything about your team or your school is a good sign,” said Belmont Coach Rick Byrd. “Personally, though, I wish no one would pick us. When Seth Davis said, ‘Belmont’ on the selection show, you can’t tell me Arizona wasn’t watching.”
Now it’s fashionable to pick Belmont to pull an early upset in the NCAA tournament. That wasn’t always the case. Remember 2008? The Bruins were a No. 15 regional seed and matched up against mighty Duke in the first round. Only an idiot picked Belmont in those days.
This idiot did. And even though Duke prevailed 71-70, those of us that went out on that limb got some degree of bracket cred for analyzing what looked like a mismatch and reckoning that the Bruins had a legitimate shot at the upset.
Now it seems as if everyone including the most powerful man in the free world is picking Belmont. It’s a sexy pick, a No. 11 seed from a nowhere conference over a No. 6 that has considerable name recognition, thanks to a national championship in 1997 and a national runner-up in ’01.
If you’re looking for a bracket breakout, this one is hard to resist – logic be darned. Because Belmont has been in the tournament so often in recent memory – the last three in a row and six … [For more on West Regional (Salt Lake): With Obama support, Belmont fashionable pick, click here.]