WASHINGTON (Reuters) - University of Kentucky fan Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate majority leader, and University of West Virginia fan Joe Manchin, his state's senior senator, have made a friendly food wager over the teams' Thursday NCAA basketball tournament game.
McConnell is putting up a Derby-Pie, a chocolate nut treat that is the signature item from Kern's Kitchen in Louisville. Manchin is wagering Chico's Bakery pepperoni rolls, which are sold at West Virginia football games and are a longtime regional favorite.
The two teams play in Cleveland in the NCAA men's basketball tournament's round of 16. Odds-makers have made top-ranked and undefeated Kentucky a heavy favorite in the contest.
The long odds did not stop Manchin, a Democrat, from delivering a little trash talk to his Republican counterpart.
"I was there five years ago when we upset the number one-ranked Kentucky team, and I have the utmost confidence that our tough WVU team can do it again. Hail West Virginia!" he said, referring to an upset victory by the Mountaineers in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
McConnell said he is already looking forward to advancing to the round of eight in the tournament, which concludes on April 6 in Indianapolis.
"I look forward to enjoying Chico’s Bakery pepperoni rolls as I watch UK play in the Elite Eight game," he said.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Will Dunham)