CHICAGO (CBS) — As President Obama is facing multiple challenges–from a budget battle with Republicans to crises in Libya and Japan–he does have one reason to celebrate.

His NCAA basketball bracket rocks!

The president went 14-2 in the first round on Thursday and is ranked in the top one percent on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge.

The president accurately predicted two key upsets: Richmond over Vanderbilt (69-66) and Gonzaga over St. John’s (86-71).

His two losses: He chose Louisville over Moorehead State and Old Dominion to beat Butler. The only problem spot on Obama’s bracket thus far: He had Louisville advancing to the Sweet 16.

Obama has been criticized by his opponents for, in their view, letting Moammar Gadhaffi regain control of his embattled nation and slow reaction to the crisis in Japan. At the same time, he appeared in the White House with an ESPN reporter going over his bracket strategy–in a segment titled “Barack-etology.”

The president is clearly faring better this time around than his first year in office in 2009–his picks were a disaster in the first round.

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