President Obama Congratulates NCAA Basketball Champions

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-07_95f064ed8a.jpgChip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Louisville Cardinals men's basketball team visited the White House Tuesday afternoon to receive congratulations from the president.  The NCAA men’s basketball champions stood behind President Obama in the East Room, having earned their ticket to the White House during April’s finals.

President Obama admitted that while he accurately predicted the Cardinals would make it to the championship game, he did not select them as the victors. “Today we're here to celebrate a Louisville team that always played hard, that always worked together, that stayed focused on one singular goal,” the president said, “and that is to bust my bracket.”
 
To an audience full of family and supporters—many of whom sported Cardinal Red—the president praised the Louisville team and its coaches.
 
“I want to thank everybody with the Cardinals organization for their outstanding performances, their leadership, and their contributions not just to Louisville, not just to Kentucky, but to the entire country.”
 
The president also acknowledged the efforts of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, and jokingly applauded his commitment to get a tattoo if the team was victorious.
 
“I have to hand it to you, Coach, you did not chicken out,” the president said, “You kept your word, and in return, you've got something that will stay with you forever -- a shirtless picture of you on the Internet.”
 
Pitino is the only coach in NCAA men’s basketball history to lead two different teams to championship victories.
 
“We won’t mention the other one,” the president joked to the Louisville fans.
 
President Obama recognized several of the team’s players, including Kevin Ware, who suffered a gruesome leg injury in March.  
 
Coach Pitino presented the president with a personalized jersey and a red baseball bat, because “some press conferences are difficult.”
 
“You hear that people?” Obama said, accepting the bat and pointing it towards the media, garnering laughs and applause. “He’s talking to you.”

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