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In past years, the selection committee would have bent over backward to keep its No. 1 overall seed, Louisville, away from its No. 2 overall, Duke. But because of a wave of conference expansion and realignment, just keeping regular-season opponents from running into one another in first-round games has become a headache. So the committee members tried to spread the suffering around.

Or maybe a few members came across this Louisville postgame celebration _ starring former President Bill Clinton, here: and decided the Cardinals have had enough fun already.



No, seriously.

Imagine what the halls of Congress would look like if members were required to fly their school colors during the tournament!

OK, forget that.

Most of them would just get jerseys made up like the ones parents wear when their kids’ teams play each other _ half one color, half the other, like a harlequin’s suit with numbers.

But even pols have loyalties, and alma maters. Unfortunately, they also have constituents of varying stripes back home, too. And judging by the reaction every time one or another is asked for his rooting favorite, you’d think they were facing “Sophie’s Choice.”

Yet intrepid Associated Press congressional reporter Donna Cassata decided to ask that loaded question, anyway.

“March Madness is always an exciting time in the Bluegrass State and I want to congratulate the Louisville Cardinals on their No. 1 overall seed and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers for making the NCAA tourney,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. “While I am disappointed that the Kentucky Wildcats won’t get the chance to defend their title this year, I congratulate them on their No. 1 seed in the NIT Tourney. Here’s hoping the Bluegrass State will bring back two titles this year.”

Yadda, yadda, yadda. But let’s parse this for a moment.

McConnell was raised in Louisville, got his B.A. there, and by most accounts is a rabid Cardinals fan. But he got his law degree from Kentucky. So he could be genuinely unhappy the defending national champion Wildcats didn’t even make the tourney, or delivering a deft, velvet-gloved, backhanded slap (“congratulations on their No. 1 seed in the NIT tourney.” Is he kidding?).

We’ll never know.

So Cassata set her sights on Florida Rep. Sen. Marco Rubio. He graduated from Florida, got his law degree from Miami, and in between comments about the Castro regime in Cuba and promoting his speech at CPAC last weekend, Rubio was crowing on Twitter about both schools heading to the NCAAs with a chance to win it all: “This is going to be a fun tournament for Floridians!”

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