Biden's March Madness bracket busted as Arizona crash out of tournament

Fewer than 800 out of 20 million online brackets remain perfect after first round of US college basketball tournament

Princeton University upset the University of Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. AFP
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President Joe Biden won't be winning any office pool competitions for March Madness this year.

The University of Arizona, his pick to win it all, crashed out of the yearly collegiate basketball tournament on Thursday after suffering a stunning defeat to Princeton.

Every year, 68 universities compete in the NCAA Men's Division Basketball Tournament, which historically takes place in March and April.

American sports fans — presidents included — partake in the revelry by filling out brackets, trying to predict the winner of each round and ultimately the tournament champions.

The bracket is divided into four quadrants: South, East, West and Midwest. Teams in each quadrant are seeded 1-16.

Arizona, the No 2 seed in the South, lost to No 15 Princeton 59-55 on Thursday. It was the 11th time in the tournament's history that a 15 seed defeated a 2 seed. Until Thursday, No 2 seeds defeated 15 seeds 93 per cent of the time.

An upset of this scale is part of the spirit of March Madness, which received the nickname because of smaller universities upsetting well-establish basketball powerhouses such as Arizona.

It also creates a so-called bracket buster — a type of upset that virtually ruins any sport fan's hopes of winning bragging rights if their championship pick lifts the trophy.

And Mr Biden isn't alone.

Out of the 20 million brackets filled online, only 787 remain perfect through the first day of play — or 0.000039 per cent of all online entries, according to the NCAA.

Former president Barack Obama's bracket is in much better shape after the first round. Though he also must have been surprised by Arizona's defeat, his national champion pick Duke steamrollered Oral Roberts 74-51.

Mr Obama also selected Baylor, UCLA and Houston to reach the Final Four.

Updated: March 17, 2023, 6:02 PM