Baracket, n., A sports bracket filled out by Barack Obama.

In his continued attempts to move beyond smear campaigns and convince the American people that he’s a true patriot, Barack Obama has submitted to the ultimate American tradition: March Madness. While Anderson Cooper was interviewing him on his press plane this week, Obama was seen clutching an NCAA bracket in preparation for today’s games.  

His Final Four : North Carolina, Kansas, Pittsburgh, and UCLA.

His winner: North Carolina over UCLA.

For a guy who talks about being an underdog in American society and the presidential race, those are some pretty conservative picks. Thirty-six percent of people who filled out their brackets through CBS Sports have UNC going to the final. The Tar Heels, Jayhawks, and Bruins are all No. 1 seeds, and Obama’s only non-No. 1 Final Four member is the same team Bob Knight has been hawking on ESPN all week. Even when he picks the underdog, he picks the trendy underdog.  

The casual observer could read North Carolina and Pitt’s prominence as a sign that Obama is pandering for votes in the states’ upcoming primaries. But if that’s the case, he should have replaced (1) UCLA with (6) Purdue, (7) West Virginia, or (12) Western Kentucky; and (1) Kansas with (10) Davidson, (12) Villanova, or (16) Portland State.

Knowing that Obama won the Senate office pool in 2007, Hillary Clinton is wisely declining to fill out a bracket . If Obama busted Clinton’s bracket, the election would be over.

UPDATE 5:32 p.m.: Obama’s full bracket is online .