How to Survive a March Madness Game 

Friends watching basketball game in living room

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We’ll be frank: Some of us just don’t care about college basketball. We can drink beer and sport our college T-shirts with the best of them, but when you force us to actually watch the game, we’re totally clueless. If the mere idea of filling out a March Madness bracket is enough to make your palms sweat, then you’re going to need more than a game plan when the tournament starts. Read on:

Shove a handful of chips into your mouth

When everyone in the room is shouting at the TV, just shove as many chips into your face as you can. All your friends will hear is “Gnnnfff.”

Keep your bladder as full as possible

The best way to avoid annoying questions about the game? Constantly making trips to the bathroom. The less time you spend on the couch, the less likely it is that your friends will know you’re clueless — so drink up.

Pretend to take an emergency phone call

Any time the conversation turns to you, pretend someone important is calling you. Answer in your best faux-concerned voice, exit the room and spend a few minutes arguing incoherently into the receiver. To make the act even more believable, return to the room, pretend to check the score and shake your head every once in a while.

Use as many generic terms as possible

The last thing you want to do is mix up your sports terms (and accidentally refer to a layup as a touchdown). If you’re going to speak up, it’s important to stick to the simplest things you can. “Wow, we’re racking up the points” is usually a safe phrase. “Wow, he’s such a great quarterback” is not.

“Accidentally” spill your beer

Nothing says distraction like a soggy sofa.

Divert the conversation with dirty jokes

No idea what to say when everyone is commenting on player stats? Pull out your dirtiest joke. It will distract everyone in the room long enough to change the subject.

Respond with something philosophical

If someone asks you about the Syracuse scandal, just respond with something deep like, “What’s the point of life without a few good scandals, anyway?” Not only will you seem like the wisest person in the room, but no one will know you have no idea what happened at Syracuse.

When in doubt, bring up M.J.

Everyone always wants to talk about which college basketball players will make it to the NBA. “NO ONE WILL EVER BE AS GOOD AS MICHAEL JORDAN” is really the only input you need to give.

Ask another question

When there’s no other way out of a direct question, just shift it to someone else. “Hmmm. What do you think, Bob?” is the perfect get-out-of-jail-free card.

Stay on snack duty

When everyone is yelling at the ref and you have no idea what’s going on, go refill the Ruffles. No one bites the hand that feeds him.

Clap it out

Every once in a while you’re going to have to pretend to show a little team spirit, and the noncommittal slow clap is your best bet. It’s used to show excitement, disappointment or apprehension, and it’s basically impossible to use it at the wrong time.