These four buddies have traveled to the ncaa tourney together for 31 years west la college swimming classes

And sitting at a high-top table in the corner of rippy’s on broadway, this particular group — longtime friends visiting from north carolina — have it dialed in.

Though they are all from the same state, they don’t have the same allegiances — there’s one wake fan, an N.C. State supporter, and two backers of the tar heels (who ended lipscomb university’s historic NCAA appearance in the first round on friday).

Each year, they pick a different city to visit, regardless of who is playing there. It gives them a chance to see the country — and it helps them avoid the inevitable long, sad drive home from experiencing a loss in person by the teams they love most.

They first visited here in 1993 when the tourney was played at vanderbilt’s memorial gym, and their row 15 tickets felt like a luxurious courtside experience.High school

On friday, they were decked out in their matching florescent yellow shirts in section 224 set to watch eight college basketball teams vie for NCAA basketball glory.

"No work, no worries," says 66-year-old dean shephard, the gray-bearded, ball-cap-wearing elder statesman of the group. "Just a week together with your friends." seeing icons, historic upsets and a supermodel

A group of friends from north wilkesboro, north carolina have enjoyed traveling to NCAA basketball tournaments for 31 years. (photo: george walker IV / tennessean.Com)

In 1988, the four buddies, who played softball and attended church together, drove to chapel hill and watched some college basketball in their home state.

The youngest one of the group, 46-year-old ricky joines, was still in high school back then.High school he tagged along with his older brother, randy, and their friends shephard and buddy parsons.

They were at cole field house in 1991 to see richmond’s historic upset of syracuse — the first time in tournament history a no. 15 seed defeated a no. 2.

For 31 years, randy joines and his three buddies have traveled from north carolina to watch the NCAA tournament together. Their first trip to nashville was in 1993. This is joines’ ticket stub from the event at memorial gym. (photo: submitted)

Their most harrowing moment came in dayton in 2009 when they side-tripped to the indianapolis speedway. Their back windows got stuck in the down position on the drive home and, with the wind whipping in, it sure sounded like they were at the race track.

They had to pull over at a small garage in the middle of nowhere to get it fixed.Randy joines but it all turned out and nothing has been quite so chilly since. Well, except maybe 2013 in detroit when it snowed all week.

Randy joines, a high school basketball coach in north carolina, has traveled to the NCAA tournament with the same three buddies every year since 1988. This is a ticket stub from the first tournament they attended together in chapel hill. (photo: submitted)

"For me, basketball is 365 days a year," says randy joines, who has been a high school girls coach in north carolina almost as long as he has been traveling to NCAA tourney games. "So, on these trips, sometimes, basketball is really secondary."