As it’s not much fun to watch the tournament without a team to root for, those of us without a horse in the race have to come up with Plan B. Yet for a significant percentage of sports fans, cheering for someone else can be an impossible compromise—I have militant White Sox fan friends who wouldn’t stoop to rooting for the Cubs in the 2016, despite their bringing the World Series to Chicago for the first time in nearly 70 years.*
We’re here to help. If your team was hypothetically bounced from tournament consideration after getting obliterated by the FORT WAYNE MASTODONS sorry sorry I’m fine sorry, here are some ways you justifying rooting for your Indiana brethren this March. Look, the Koreas are holding talks; you can cheer for 19-year-olds playing a kids’ game.
(* This is a joke. White Sox fans get SUPER-whimpery when you forget that they won a World Series, in 2003 or 2007 or whenever it was.**)
(** This is also a joke It was 2005. But seriously, nobody cares.)
• Choose your team based on endearing slobberiness of its mascot.
• Think of it not as cheering for Purdue, but for the brave men and women of the American space program. I mean, do you hate the moon? You got a problem with the moon? You know who hates the moon? North Koreans. Celebrate American ingenuity already, jeez.
• Or, pretend like you’re cheering for the train! Everybody likes trains! Think of it as clapping for The Polar Express, except less creepy and with like 12 fewer CGI Tom Hankses.
• Remember: You don’t need to have a “team” to gamble away car payments!
• Do you have any idea how much cheaper NIT tickets are? This is a blessing! You might have enough money left over for a couple Timberlake tickets, or 40 to the Colts.
• Did anyone have to vacate an NIT title lately? NO. The NIT is BASKETBALL PURITY and also tickets are like $6.
• Look some of us didn’t even make the NI-DING-DANG-T so how about being thankful for what you have, OK?
• Use the time to brush up on your NBA2K skills.
• Use the time to learn what NBA2K is.
• Just hope for a Butler/Purdue match-up in the second round, and think of it as the Indiana version of Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage. BUTLER/PURDUE: THE MEGAPOWERS EXPLODE, or at least the Reasonably Above-Average Powers.
• Acknowledge that the sports fanship you claim as a treasured part of your soul was, in actuality, born of geographic convenience and family history and was in no way the direct result of a decision you made; acknowledge further that the young men playing basketball have no idea who you are and would probably not stop to help if you blew a flat on one of our town’s eight million potholes, and thus investing emotional resonance into their athletic performance is really pretty majestically goofy when you think about it.