NCAA Tournament 2012: How To Watch March Madness Without A Rooting Interest

Lamar was knocked out and Texas doesn't play until Friday, so where does that leave you, the Houstonian who wants to watch Thursday's NCAA games with more than just a March Madness fascination?

Lamar was knocked out on Wednesday, when the Cards went cold from the field at the worst possible time. Texas doesn't play until Friday, so where does that leave you, the Houstonian who wants to watch Thursday's NCAA games with more than just a March Madness fascination?

I'm glad you asked. Here are some ways you can keep things interesting AND tied in to your rooting interests for Thursday...

1) Watch the draft's top prospects - SB Nation's Tom Ziller recently published a mock NBA draft that is littered with possible top prospects on this first day of March Madness. If you're a Rockets fan, there are plenty of guys who may be available if the Knicks pick falls into the lottery.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky - He's not Anthony Davis, but as the second-best prospect on that loaded Kentucky squad, he brings a lot of good things to the table. Unfortunately, I'm not sure he'll be around in time for Houston to take him, but he's a little more realistic a hope for Houston to trade up and get.

Quincy Miller, Baylor or Perry Jones III, Baylor - Either one of these guys should be lottery picks. Miller fits in that small forward-type role that Chandler Parsons has filled so admirably this season, while Jones would fit the hole left by Kevin Martin heading out of town. Neither probably make it past pick No. 5, but if they do, Houston may have a shot.

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State - Ziller's mock has Sullinger falling all the way down to No. 14. If he goes that far, he's definitely in range of the Rockets' pick from New York (assuming the Knicks don't make the playoffs). Sullinger was a potential No. 1 overall pick last year, but has fallen off a bit after a lackluster sophomore campaign. Would still make a solid frontcourt option if Houston trades Pat Patterson today.

Andre Drummond, Connecticut - Yeah, I know, I could have just as well put Anthony Davis here. There's not a chance Houston could land a pick this high in the draft to take Drummond. But, it's fun to dream, right?

2) Root against Baylor - You know you want to. It's fun, especially because Baylor fans gets all riled up whenever you say something bad about them.

3) Do some scouting - You can act just like an assistant coach. Texas' bracket doesn't play until Friday, so you can't scout second-round opponents like Florida State or St. Bonaventure, but you can watch Ohio State and Gonzaga/West Virginia for possible Sweet Sixteen matchups.

If you're not a Texas fan, all the better. Watch those games to see how Sullinger and Co. will send Texas home crying (if they even get that far).

4) The announcers - Verne Lundquist and BIll Raftery are March Madness staples. You can watch games just to hear them drop knowledge, as they've been doing for so many years. According to this, those guys will be doing Murray State/Colorado State, Marquette/BYU, Kentucky/Western Kentucky and Iowa State/Connecticut. Some really nice matchups in there.

You also can't go wrong with the Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller trio for games today. Miller is a pretty good analyst who could make those games more interesting.

5) Upset alerts - Come on, you know you want to see one of those Valparaiso-type shots live, don't you? Where the mid-major shocks the world and beats a seemingly-unbeatable team? Here's some possible upset specials for today:

Syracuse/UNC-Asheville - The Orange seem to be in complete disarray after Fab Melo was suspended for the rest of the season. Plus, as every analyst in the country has pointed out, their 2-3 zone leaves good shooting teams open on the perimeter and let those teams hang around. UNC-Asheville is a guard-driven team that could do just that. It'd also be the first time a 1-seed has lost to a 16-seed, so history would make the moment even bigger.

Louisville/Davidson - That's right, Davidson already has some big wins under its belt this season, so taking out Louisville is possible, though not probable.

Witchita State/VCU - I know, it's no fun picking against a mid-major for an upset, but Shaka Smart's team could make another big run with a winnable first game.

Vanderbilt/Harvard - I like Vandy to move down the road in this bracket, but that scrappy Harvard team could pose some problems. Can Linsanity infect his alma mater?

For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.

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