Stevens Excited To Enjoy Madness as a Fan

WALTHAM, Mass. – March Madness is scheduled to tip off on March 18. Americans will be glued to their television sets for the following three weeks as they watch a 68-team tournament whittle its way down to one national champion.

This year’s tournament will be a unique one for Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who will be an outsider to March Madness for the first time in 13 years. For once, he’ll finally be able to sit back and enjoy the madness unfold in front of him just like the rest of us do.

Brad Stevens claps on the sideline

For the first time in 13 years, Brad Stevens can do all the clapping he wants during the NCAA tournament.
Boston Globe/NBAE/Getty Images

“The thing that I will do is I’ll watch it as a fan. I mean, heck yeah,” Stevens said after noting that he’ll wait to evaluate collegiate players until after Boston’s season. “Any time you get an hour or so to turn that thing on, you’ll watch it, because it is really as fun of a sporting event as there is to watch or participate in.”

Though he will no longer be coaching in the tournament, Stevens still oozes enthusiasm when he speaks about it. He, just like the rest of us, is enthralled by the possibility of a major upset occurring at any given moment.

“I want Harvard to come out and beat whoever they get in the first round because they’ll be whatever seed and somebody will be seeded higher,” Stevens said as his eyes lit up with excitement. “That’s what makes the tournament special. It’s one of the neat events because of that.”

Stevens should know, because his Butler Bulldogs were the epitome of special in 2010 and 2011. Those teams famously shocked the world by making it to back-to-back national championship games despite being branded as a mid-major school.

It would take a heck of a run for Butler to make its way into the NCAA tournament this season. The Bulldogs currently stand as 13-16 on the season as they approach this coming week’s Big East Tournament. Stevens will be pulling for his former team to run the table in the tournament and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

He’ll be doing this as a fan, which is certainly a new angle for the ultra-competitive Stevens. He said that he hasn’t been able to enjoy March Madness since he began coaching, even after his teams’ seasons had come to an end.

“I hated watching it. I hated watching it. I wouldn’t watch it,” Stevens said, somewhat eliciting the frustration he must have experienced in years past. “I wasn’t a very good fan when I was a part of it. The year we didn’t make it (2012), I couldn’t watch it. I was on the phone with some friends of mine who weren’t in the tournament and we were just lamenting the fact that we weren’t in the tournament. We hated it.”

How could someone who lives and breathes basketball hate such an amazing event? Stevens went on to explain.

“When you get knocked out, you cringe at watching the games because you think it could be you,” he said. “It is not easy to do. I guess I’ve been kind of a surly fan for the last 13 years watching the tournament.”

Kick that surliness to the can, Brad! It’s time to join the rest of us in enjoying every exciting minute that the NCAA tournament delivers.

Watch Selection Sunday on March 16 and hold out hope that the Butler Bulldogs squeak their way into the tournament.

Root for Harvard in the first round as they take on an opponent from a BCS conference.

Scream at the top of your lungs after watching an inevitable buzzer-beater fall through the net to complete a shocking upset.

Do it all as a fan, because you can.

This is just another perk of being the head coach of the Boston Celtics.