CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -Barack Obama picked North Carolina to win the NCAA championship, and he insists it has nothing to do with an upcoming primary.
It has everything to do with 6-foot-9 Tyler Hansbrough.
The Democratic presidential candidate selected North Carolina, Kansas, Pittsburgh and UCLA in his Final Four bracket. He has North Carolina beating UCLA in the championship game.
The state of North Carolina, with 115 delegates at stake, holds its primary May 6.
Obama had chosen Stanford to beat Pittsburgh because of the Cardinal's 7-foot twins. And in an interview Thursday with WRBZ-AM in Raleigh, Obama put Stanford in his Final Four. Obama's staff said he could have been leaning toward the team at one point, but Pittsburgh is his Final Four choice.
The Illinois senator, an avid basketball player and brother-in-law of Brown basketball coach Craig Robinson, began working on his NCAA bracket during his short North Carolina flight Wednesday from Fayetteville to Charlotte. The campaign staff is competing in a $10 per person pool.
Pressed in an interview with The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday about his picks, Obama said he was swayed by Hansbrough, not politics.
``That's a big boy, there,'' he said. ``So I've got to fill it out, I've got to do a little bracketology before I make a final decision.''
Intent on being part of March Madness, Republican rival John McCain has an NCAA bracket competition on his campaign Web site.
``McCain brackets are back!'' the site says. ``Compare your basketball picks to John McCain and be eligible for great McCain 2008 prizes.''
Among the prizes are a McCain fleece jacket, McCain cap and McCain pin.
Obama wondered whether McCain had filled out his own bracket or left the task to an aide. Bottom line: He said he's not interested in prizes offered by McCain's campaign.
``I've got my own T-shirts, man,'' Obama said in the radio interview. ``Our T-shirts are superior, what can I tell you.''
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