Washington (CNN) - As he welcomed Duke men's basketball team - the NCAA winners - to the White House, President Barack Obama preemptively made light of his pick for last year's tournament - Duke's arch-rival the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.
"Now, I know that all of you remember last year, when I filled out my bracket. I picked North Carolina to win it all. It wasn't anything personal. Just trying to win some money. I was right. Coach K wasn't too happy. He basically told me to stick it. Or stick to my day job, is what he said," referring to Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was standing next to the president in the Rose Garden.
"And then, this year, he went out with all these guys and he won, so he could come to the White House and crow about it. Payback is sweet, isn't it, Coach? Congratulations on your fourth National Championship at Duke."
This year the president chose Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Villanova to make the Final Four
One thing the two men have in common: some advice they have given to Reggie Love, who used to play for Duke and is now the president's assistant.
"Coach and I were both discussing - I play with Reggie now, and when Reggie was playing, Coach said, don't shoot. And when he's on my team, I say to Reggie, don't shoot. So things haven't changed that much. Go down in the post, rebound," the president said to a roar of laughter from the audience.
Obama also congratulated the team for its improbable win.
"It was, as everybody here knows, an incredible tournament from start to finish - one of the most exciting tournaments any of us have ever seen. The championship game against Butler - the most-watched championship game in more than 10 years - was everything fans hoped it would be. It came down to the final possession. And these guys hung in there and won it all," he said.
Mr. Obama received a Duke jersey and a souvenir copy of the tournament bracket showing the team's road to victory.
"Oh, look at this. That's nice! You know Reggie is going to make me hang this in the Oval Office. Take down Lincoln or something," the president joked.