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How to Throw a March Madness Party

March Madness—the period when college basketball teams compete for the championship—is a perfect time to throw a party.


  • Step 1: Pick a date Pick a date for your party. March Madness involves 64 teams playing over three weeks, so you have plenty of options.
  • TIP: Many people like to throw a party when the Final Four teams compete, which is always on a Saturday.
  • Step 2: Plan the menu Plan the menu. You want food that can be prepared or ordered ahead of time and eaten easily while standing or sitting around. Nachos with the works, wings, and pizzas are all good choices. Don’t forget the chips and dips.
  • TIP: Consider renting a popcorn maker or hot dog warmer—like in the stadium.
  • Step 3: Buy beer Buy lots of beer. If you’re having a big crowd, consider getting a keg or a party ball. Have some soda on hand, too.
  • Step 4: Decorate Buy paper decorations, plates, and cups with a basketball theme—or get them in your team’s color. Order some basketball Mylar balloons.
  • Step 5: Let them eat cupcakes Order or bake some basketball-themed cupcakes. If you’re creating them yourself, look for inspiration online.
  • Step 6: Organize a pool Organize a pool. Make a betting card yourself. Draw a 10 by 10 grid that fills a piece of poster board, and label the axes zero through nine. Write the name of one team along the top and the other along the side.
  • Step 7: Several states officially bar all gambling, including pools in which the organizer does not profit. Know your local laws before organizing a pool involving money.
  • Step 8: Run the pool Have guests pay to write their name in a square, and put the money in a pot. At the end of each quarter, the person who has the square that corresponds to the final digit of each team’s score wins a quarter of the pot.
  • TIP: Have the hosts dress like refs in black and white stripes—to help command the crowd.
  • Step 9: Set up an indoor hoop Set up a hoop for free throw competitions. Have a gift for the person who sinks the most baskets—like a jersey or (for the less fanatical) a wine and cheese basket.
  • TIP: Provide face paint in team colors so partygoers can get into the spirit.
  • Step 10: Have a safe ride Have the number of a taxi service or designated driver on hand in case anyone has celebrated too much to drive home.
  • FACT: The greatest margin of victory in a college basketball championship game was 30 points, when the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, slaughtered Duke 103-73 in 1990.

You Will Need

  • Food
  • Drink
  • Decorations
  • Poster board
  • The number of a taxi or a designated driver
  • A marker
  • Referee uniforms
  • Body paint
  • Jell-O shots

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