Mar. 2, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Harvard Crimson guard Christian Webster (15) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Columbia Lions at Levien Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Nat Scott: A Tennessee Fan's Guide to Watching the NCAA Tournament

I have heard a lot of Tennessee fans say they are not interested in the NCAA this year because Tennessee didn’t make it.  People say, “We’ve made it six straight years before this! It’s just boring without Tennessee in it!”  Clearly you have only been a Tennessee fan since it became “cool” to be a Vols basketball fan.  Tennessee has missed the NCAA tournament fare more times than they have made it.  Before Bruce Pearl the Vols were absent from the tournament for a four year stretch.  Before Jerry Green it was a joke to think Tennessee would be in the tournament.  The NCAA tournament goes on without the Vols, so now what do you do?  Here is a list of several things to keep you interested in the tournament.

1. Cheer for Cinderella 

Mar 10, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New Mexico Lobos guard Tony Snell (21) attempts a three point shot against the San Diego State Aztecs in the first half of the finals of the 2012 Mountain West Tournament at the Thomas

Pull for the lower seed in EVERY game of the tournament.  Cinderella should be your middle name for the next few weeks.  VCU pulls the 12-5 upset? You are right there cheering them on.  16 seed vs. a 1 seed? Bring your hard hat because you are cheering for Western Kentucky to whoop some Kentucky….butt.  Now the 9 seed vs. the 8 seed is a toss up, so you don’t have to cheer for either one.  But come the second round you cheer for that team to beat the 1 seed!  The tournament is much more fun when you just cheer for Cinderella.

2. Pick a team you want to win it all and stick with them 

It’s a chance to cheer for another team besides the Vols.  Personally, I am going with New Mexico (and the winner of Indiana-Witchita State in the second round).  You know why I picked those teams?  I wanted to.  No rhyme or reason, but this week I am a Lobo/Shocker/Hoosier.*

*Note-This rule does not apply to other SEC teams

3. Cheer against SEC teams

This is where basketball is better than football.  In football you feel like you have to pull for the SEC in bowl games and to win the National Championship.  Guess what? In basketball you can cheer for them to lose and lose terribly!  No sane Tennessee fans wants UK to win the national championship.  Why not cheer for Virginia to dominate Florida in the first round?  Be a huge Creighton Blue Jays fan against Alabama! Most importantly, pull for the Harvard Crimson to run Vanderbilt off the floor.  Then when Tennessee is still playing next week you can point and laugh and say “HAHA we are stilly playing!!!”

4. Sit back and enjoy the show

When Tennessee is in the NCAA tournament there is so much stress involved.  It is difficult to enjoy the other games because you are just focused on Tennessee.  This time you get to sit back from the very start and just enjoy the show.  Lay back on the couch for the next few days and love the fact that there are four games on at all times.

5. Become a hermit and don’t watch any of the games

This is exactly what you should not do

6. Have fun and happy tournament watching!

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