It’s game time! If you’re a basketball fan, no doubt you’ll be gathering your friends and watching the college basketball tournament for the next couple of weeks. Root on your favorite team and enjoy the excitement, pressure, frustration and glory by hosting your own party! Texans can be especially excited because the big tournament ends in San Antonio! Here are some fun college basketball tournament party ideas to incorporate into your game time celebration this year.
When you’re planning your party, it’s important to keep the schedule in mind!
March 14: Wednesday night’s games include the North Carolina Central State Eagles versus the Texas Southern Tigers and the Arizona State Sun Devils versus the Syracuse Orange.
March 15 & 16: Sixty-four teams will compete in first-round games in Boise, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Wichita to move onto the next stage.
March 17 & 18: Thirty-two teams will compete in second-round games in the same locations as the mentioned for March 15 & 16.
March 22 & 23: The remaining teams will duke it out in the Sweet 16 round, which includes eight regional semifinal games in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles and Omaha.
March 24 & 25: Teams in the Elite 8 round will play in regional finals in those same four cities. The four winning teams will move on.
March 31: The Final Four round is two games in San Antonio.
April 2: The remaining two teams from the competition will fight it out in San Antonio for the national title.
Let your guests know what’s going on at any day in the tournament, by printing out a bracket. Blow it up to a larger size and place that on a door or wall in the room where you’ll be watching. You can print out a bracket HERE, and have it blown up at your local photocopy store or office supply store. If you have a table of snacks prepared, place the bracket on the wall behind the table to give your guests something to discuss while enjoying game time treats. This is also a great decoration alternative for partiers that don’t require basketball themed plates, cups and snacks. If you’re feeling lucky, start a bracket pool and refer to your bracket wall for winners and losers!
If children will be attending your party, you may need to keep them entertained. Keeping with the basketball theme is difficult, especially indoors. I you have a child’s size basketball hoop set, let the kids play outside. If not, you can create a basketball game indoors easily – without worrying about a ball being thrown around! Instead of throwing the ball into a basket, place a piece of paper with a picture of a hoop on the floor. Kids can then go to the other end of the room and roll the basketball on the floor towards the paper. When the basketball lands on the pictured hoop, they scored a basket! You could even print out an extra bracket for the kids to use for their game. This ensures the kids are entertained, participating in the theme of the party, and enjoying “basketball” indoors in a safe way. You may also want to place some board games, coloring books and other child-appropriate items in the kids’ room, along with DVDs of their favorite movies or TV shows.
If your party area covers multiple rooms, be sure you have a TV with the game on in each. Grilling up ribs, hot dogs and burgers outside is a great way to feed your guests, but you don’t want to miss the game! Place a TV as close as possible to the outdoor area. If you’re firing up the BBQ in the front yard, you may want to move a TV into the garage. Set out lawn chairs and coolers of beverages so that guests can enjoy the game while spending time near the grill. If you don’t have multiple TVs that are easy to use, consider turning to the internet. Use iPads and laptops to keep viewing the game easy from every room. This is also handy when there are multiple games going on at the same time during peak times of the tournament.
Finger foods are always a hit with kids and adults. You can keep it simple and appetizing by filling plates with chicken wings, chicken nuggets and corn dogs. Create your own “dunking sauces” for guests to dip their snacks in. Place bowls in all viewing areas that are filled with popcorn, chips, pretzels and candy. These things will keep the kids happy and the adult guests fed throughout the party. You can also place coolers filled with ice near the tables, so that guests can grab a drink without having to get up and miss integral parts of the game. Keep it simple and appetizing – this also helps with quick preparation and cleanup!
During long commentaries or lulls in the games, you can keep the basketball theme alive. Play college basketball trivia! You’ll find tons of great websites online that offer fun questions to stump your guests, like this one. You can also place a hoop above your trash can, and start a little competition. This will also help with cleanup – but your guests won’t know it because they’re having fun!
Get ready for some serious energy, basketball fans! Hosting a college basketball tournament doesn’t have to take much preparation, and can still be memorable and exciting for you and your guests. Most importantly…have FUN!