The First Four/First Round/Play-In Games of the NCAA Tournament begin tonight with Western Kentucky vs. Mississippi Valley St. and Iona vs. BYU. But, the biggest worldwide news in anticipation of the games in Dayton isn’t who will be playing on the court, but instead who will be in attendance. President Barack Obama and his guest, the Prime Minister of Great Britain David Cameron will be taking in the action. Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering why President Obama would take Britain’s top politician to Dayton, OH for a game between Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. That would be like Cameron taking President Obama to see a fourth round FA Cup game between Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town. Growing up 45 minutes from Dayton, I can tell you the city isn’t exactly a cultural hub known round the world, but at least they’ve done a great job making the First Four their own.
Not only will the President and his guest see some basketball, they’ll also have a hard-hitting interview with CBS/Tru TV analyst Clark Kellogg at halftime of the opening game. At first glance, the choice of Clark Kellogg might be puzzling. However, Kellogg is basically CBS’s version of Matt Lauer when it comes to interviewing President Obama. In fact, this will be the third time Kellogg will have interviewed President Obama, the other two coming during last year’s tournament and in January 2010 at a Georgetown game. Granted, nothing really memorable came from those interviews other than Kellogg throwing a game of H.O.R.S.E., but wouldn’t you if you were playing the leader of the free world in his own backyard?
I’ll give Kellogg credit for stepping up to the plate. He may just want to tone down the Dairy Queen references so President Obama doesn’t have to become a translator for the Prime Minister. It’d be great if Kellogg and Cameron would discuss former Loyola Marymount player Vernon Teel leading the English Basketball League in scoring for the London Leopards though. Maybe the next time our President crosses the pond, he can take in the Manchester Derby (although President Obama is reportedly a West Ham fan) and be interviewed by Gary Neville to return the favor.