Learn the terminology. Start saying things like:
Sweet 16 the remaining 16 teams in the March Madness tournament
Elite 8 the remaining 8
Final 4 its literally in the name, these are the final four teams remaining
And you should even say words like:
Region the brackets are divided by four regions -- North, South, East, and West -- each with 16 teams
Seed teams are ranked 1-16 in each division; so in the whole tournament there are four number one teams
Cinderella a low seed that does better than expected
The Big Dance the championship game
Going Dancing a team that is going to the championship game
Typically, this is a low time commitment with a high return. Before the tournament starts, you can compete with your friends and try to guess how the tournament will play out. This will help you to learn how the brackets work, how teams are seeded, and even which teams are playing.
There are plenty of ways to do this. Some groups print out the brackets and write in the winners manually. But many people use online bracket pools. Yahoo Sports has a good bracket pool..
Most authentic college basketball fans are loyal to a single team. Some are loyal to a conference. But it's always acceptable to cheer for the underdogs.
If you're having trouble choosing a few teams to cheer for grab a bracket, and you can use the following criteria to help:
- Choose teams from your home state
- Choose teams from Indiana (Indiana, Butler, Notre Dame, Purdue, etc)
- Choose teams that have a low seed (12-16)
- Choose teams with funny names (Gonzaga, Villanova, Xavier, etc)
Refer to the teams you select as we or you will immediately be identified as an imposter.
The moment you decide to have positive feelings towards a team, you are immediately a part of it. You are now "we". We just scored. We just fouled. We are winning.
It's acceptable to cheer for multiple teams, but not during the same game. The important thing is that you appear to be cheering when the game is on. When your team scores shout with joy, and when the other team scores shout with anger.
If you don't have time to check the game, just look at scores throughout the day. When a team wins or loses, talk to somebody about it. This will give you credibility as a sports fan.