“The big dance”

“Storming the court”

“Bracket busters”

These are typical phrases that college basketball fans use this time of year. But for non-sports fans these words are just, well, words.

As Cougar Nation prepares for the College of Charleston’s return to the NCAA basketball tournament this Friday, The College Today created a cheat sheet to help non-sports fans traverse the Road to the Final Four. After you have studied the cheat sheet, you can use your newfound knowledge at the official College of Charleston Game-Watch Party at TD Arena on Friday, March 16, 2018. Doors for the event open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The College of Charleston vs. Auburn University basketball game starts at 7:27 p.m. (EST).

If you can’t watch the game at the arena, the game will be broadcast on truTV Network (Channel 72 on Comcast and Channel 38 on Spectrum) and streaming online at https://www.ncaa.com/march-madness-live/.

You can also listen to the game on ESPN Radio 94.7-FM/910-AM in Charleston.

RELATED: Read the 2018 College of Charleston Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament Guide.

For those of us who aren’t all that familiar with basketball tourney lingo here’s a guide to understanding why we’re so excited the Cougars are going to “The Big Dance” where hopefully we’ll be a bracket-buster, turn into Cinderella, and make it to the sweet sixteen so we can watch Cougar Nation storming the court.

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament (a.k.a. March Madness or The Big Dance)

This is a single-elimination basketball tournament played each March that features 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Teams are selected by winning their respective conference championships or by receiving at-large bids. The winner of the tournament is named the national champion of college basketball.

The Big Dance  – In 1977 Marquette’s basketball coach Al McGuire wore a bright blue blazer for much of the season. Legend has it that a reporter asked him if he planned to wear it during the NCAA Tournament as well, and the coach replied, “Absolutely. You gotta wear the blue blazer when you go to the big dance.” Marquette won the NCAA championship that year and “The Big Dance” became synonymous with the championship tournament.

Seeds – On Selection Sunday, the official NCAA brackets and team seedings are released. A team’s seeding is its ranking in the tournament. The higher the seed, the better the team. Seeds range from No. 1 to No. 16 in each region. CofC is the No. 13 seed in the Midwest region.

Brackets – OK, this is a big deal. You may be asked to fill out a bracket. Don’t panic. Filling out a bracket means trying to predict the winners of each game. There is no perfect way of filling out a bracket and no two are alike. The brackets are divided into four regions of the country: West, Midwest, South, and East. And all teams are seeded in each region. The highest-seeded teams are expected to win their games, but that doesn’t always happen. That’s why it’s called March Madness.

Bracket-Buster – When a team that most people expect to lose ends up beating a higher-seeded team, wreaking havoc on carefully chosen brackets that were dependent on the higher-seeded team winning.

Sweet Sixteen – The final 16 teams in the tournament.

Elite Eight – The final 8 teams in the tournament

Final Four – The final four teams in the tournament.

Storming the Court – This is when fans of the winning team rush onto the court at the end of the game to celebrate. It usually occurs after an upset (see next entry).

Upset – When a relatively unknown or under-appreciated team beats a well-known or higher-seeded team. Upsets help create Cinderella teams (see next entry).

Cinderella – A team that is expected to be eliminated from the tournament in the early rounds, but somehow manages to beat higher-seeded teams and makes it to the “Sweet 16.”

One and Done – This is a reference to a team that loses its first game and is knocked out of the tournament.

Sleeper or Dark Horse  – A team that isn’t expected to win but could surprise people by advancing in the tournament.

Mid-major Team – This is a basketball team that is not a member of the so-called top-tier conferences (Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference, Big 10 Conference, Big 12 Conference and Pac-12 Conference). The College of Charleston is considered a mid-major team.

Cutting the Nets – This is customary for the winner of the championship game to cut down the basketball net at the end of the game. (watch below)

Buzzer Beater  A last-second shot that wins the game for one team in a very close contest.

Crunch Time – Nothing to do with Nestle’s Crunch Bars. This is the nervous energy one experiences in a very close game that looks like it will be decided in the final seconds.