Happy Hoops-day!

You think I’d plan accordingly. As if it has not happened each of the previous nine years: the Virginia General Assembly ends, Sunshine Week (Nirvana Week for us open government/FOIA geeks) hits, Dell turns another year older, the teams for the NCAA tournament are selected, and I am caught as flatfooted as CBS was when it tried to drag out Selection Sunday to two hours even though the bracket it was unveiling had already been leaked online. Hence, the annual mad dash and scramble to get teams assigned and the website ginned back up.

Reality

What we think we look like (left). What we actually look like (right).

But so dedicated to this endeavor are we at Tournament Central that we completed our own selection scenario via Face Time, with me in Fredericksburg, where I gave my first open government talk in a hookah lounge (“‘You’ll get used to it in time,’ said the Caterpillar [to Alice].”), and Dell at my home computer.

This technological stretch was too much for the Cat Commissioners. Their tiny little heads simply exploded when they saw the tiny little picture of my head and knew not where my feet and hands might be. (“One side will you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter,” said the Caterpillar as it got down off the mushroom and crawled away in the grass.)

Donkeys

We always knew Mike was a Democrat.

But pick we did, and folks, we are in for a doozy of a tournament. I foresee much taunting and passionate defense from our lot, that is, when five of our lot deign to set foot on U.S. soil again. As you may or may not know, Elaine, Mike, Karen and Rebecca have been visiting the set of “Life of Brian,” braving dead seas, wailing at walls and kibitzing at kibbutzes, while Beth’s been on the other side of the Middle East crisis, lounging on a balcony in Abu Dhabi while strains of “Dixie” filter over the PA system (ask her about it).

The tournament will be no doubt be bittersweet for us, no matter how dooziful it is. Bitter because it’s our first one without Mr. Basketball himself, #. . ., um, # . . . , what they heck number was he? Anyway, a member of the 1945 South Carolina State Basketball Champions, from Calhoun-Clemson High School, MISter EDwin RHYYYYYYYYYNE! He and Mama shared a love of basketball, and I spent many many an afternoon as a young’un watching any and every basketball game that ran on network TV. His beloved Clemson Tigers did so well in football this year that I can’t help but hope that his beloved Tar Heels will make a similar (though ultimately successful) run in basketball. Yes, I’m biased.

EdRhyne

Calhoun-Clemson state champs.

But sweet because this is our first tournament with two new young’uns and their concomitant first-time parents and grandparents. We are all thrilled to welcome Simon and Revi to our growing ranks. It will be so much fun to watch them grow and explore and wonder and achieve and merge into this family and the family of their other parent.

I was telling Rebecca that when Daddy used to show me pictures of his extended family and point to people who were his second cousin, his third cousin, his first cousin once- or twice-removed, my eyes would glaze over and I’d think that once you started getting into second and thirds, that they would necessarily be remote and distant. But now I know better and different. Everyone who has come into this family feels to me just as close and special as the ones I was born knowing. But lest you think I’m getting too soft now than i’m 50, I’m going to draw the line at fifth cousins or some such because then you’re into Eleanor and Franklin territory and being able to marry your cousin and I’m just not ready to cue the banjos yet.

I put the two littlest third cousins together with their older and wiser third cousins, Rowan and Cora, to form one of my annual mashups to get to 32 people. They are the 3rd Cousins. I also put the doyennes of the family — Lee, Dot and Gwynn — together as the force that they are. They are The Force. And then there are those troupers who’ve married into the family and have no choice but to suffer my overconfidence (see, I’m so overconfident that I intentionally didn’t use the word arrogant). They are the Sufferers of Fools.

So, with no more circumstance and just a little pomp, may I present the 2016 Rhyne-Blyth-Patterson-Mostly-Annual-I-Thought-About-Postponing-The-Selection-Until-After-A-New-President-Is-Picked-But-The-Republicans-Stole-My-Idea NCAA Basketball Extravaganza!

Team 1

Seed-Region

Team 2

Seed-Region

Seed Total

Beth

Texas

6-W

Holy
Cross/Southern

16-W

22

Carl

Stephen F.
Austin

14-E

Cal

4-S

28

Caroline

Hampton

16-MW

Hawaii

13-S

29

Christine

Farleigh
Dickenson/FGCU 

16-E

Temple

10-S

26

Claire

Yale

12-W

UNC-Asheville

15-S

27

3rd Cousins
(Cora, Revi, Rowan & Simon)

 

Texas Tech

8-MW

Vanderbilt/Wichita
State

11-S

19

Sufferers
of Fools (Dan, Honor & Kiran)

 

Seton Hall

6-MW

Kansas

1-S

7

Daniel

Weber St.

15-E

Middle
Tennessee

15-MW

30

Dell

Kentucky

4-E

Providence

9-E

13

The Force
(Dot, Gwynn & Lee)

 

Utah

3-MW

Notre Dame

6-E

9

Dottie

Arizona

6-S

Iowa St.

4-MW

10

Dub

Oregon St.

7-W

Texas A&M

3-W

10

Elaine

Buffalo

14-S

Iowa

7-S

21

Elizabeth

Oklahoma

2-W

Chattanooga

12-E

14

Ellie

Miami

3-S

Dayton

7-MW

10

Gordon

Gonzaga

11-MW

UNC-Wilmington

13-W

24

Jim

Maryland

5-S

Colorado

8-S

13

Joe

Little Rock

12-MW

St. Joseph’s

8-W

20

Karen

South Dakota
St.

12-S

Michigan/Tulsa

11-E

23

Katie

Cincinnati

9-W

Oregon

1-W

10

Libby

Michigan State

2-MW

UConn

9-S

11

Martie

VCU

10-W

Indiana

5-E

15

Megan

Butler

9-MW

USC

8-E

17

Mike B.

Austin Peay

16-S

Stony Brook

13-E

29

Mike P.

Green Bay

14-W

West Virginia

3-E

17

Pierce

Purdue

5-MW

Xavier

2-E

7

Rebecca

Fresno St.

14-MW

Syracuse

10-MW

24

Rhyne

Pittsburgh

10-E

Duke

4-W

14

Rivers

Cal State
Bakersfield

15-W

Wisconsin

7-E

22

Robert

Baylor

5-W

UNC

1-E

6

Sarah

Northern Iowa

11-W

UVA

1-MW

12

Susan

Iona

13-MW

Villanova

2-S

15

First off, our #1 seeds are in the proud hands of the Sufferers of Fools, a Patterson, and two Blyths (sisters, no less). And Robert has crushed it with the lowest seed total for the two teams combined: 6. The Sufferers of Fools are close behind with 7, as is Pierce. The Force is sitting pretty with a 10. On the other end of the spectrum, Daniel’s dying with a total of 30, while Mike B. and Caroline are on life support with 29. At least Mike B. gets this ditty for his two teams: Let’s go Peay in the Stony Brook! Caroline gets the award for the pairing of two teams farthest away from one another: Hawaii and Hampton.

Rhyne is no doubt pleased as punch to have his parents’ alma mater of Duke and another ACC team to boot, while poor Duker Rebecca has to once again shoulder the burden of carrying Syracuse, a team she hates and a coach with whom shares the same birthday.

Jim snagged one of the three schools from which he holds a degree and will champion the Terrapins, in addition to my and Rhyne’s Buffalos. And this should not be confused with Buffalo, which is Elaine’s team. And her other team, Iowa, should not be confused with Iona, which is Susan’s team. Carl’s team is Stephen F. Austin, which isn’t in Austin (Nacogdoches).  Ellie may be the most confused of all considering Dayton is in Ohio, Ohio University is in Miami, and Miami is in Florida, where many alligators and retirees live,  and oh my head hurts.

So, even though two play-in games are already in the books, I will consider tomorrow the start of the tournament. I expect my eyes to start bleeding from so much TV round about Friday at 3 PM. Take care of yourselves, peeps!

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