NCAA BK

Obama attends Syracuse-Marquette basketball game

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WASHINGTON (AP)

President Barack Obama attended one of the weekend's big college basketball games after playing a round of golf Saturday.

Obama's motorcade took him directly from a golf course at Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland to Washington's Verizon Center to watch Syracuse and Marquette play for a berth in the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament. He left shortly before the end of the game, which Syracuse won 55-39.

With less than 11 minutes remaining in the first half of the East Regional final, Obama appeared on the Jumbotron suspended above the Verizon Center court. He sat with Reggie Love, his former personal aide at the White House and a member of the Duke team that won the NCAA championship in 2001. At least one other friend, Marty Nesbitt, also sat with the president. Also joining Obama was NCAA President Mark Emmert.

The audience responded with loud applause when Obama was shown on the huge screen, and he smiled and waved.

In the men's tournament, Obama picked Indiana and Louisville to meet in the championship game in Atlanta, with Indiana claiming the title. But it's not meant to be - Indiana was defeated by Syracuse. Louisville is scheduled to play Duke on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Obama said earlier this week that ''my women's (NCAA tournament) bracket is doing much better than my men's bracket.''

Earlier Saturday, Obama played golf for the first time since automatic spending cuts known as the sequester went into effect on March 1.

Some conservatives have called on Obama to give up golf since popular public tours of the White House have been canceled because of the budget cuts. The White House has said the tours were canceled to keep Secret Service agents from being furloughed because of the spending reductions.

Obama played golf with Nesbitt and two White House aides.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsuperville

Tagged: Indiana, Syracuse

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