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The Mid-Major Madness guide to a successful NCAA Tournament viewing party

Everything you need to know to have a good time watching the games.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Orlando Practice Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first two days of the NCAA Tournament are widely considered to be the best two days in sports. A lot of people take off work, skip school, or have conveniently timed medical procedures. In any case, there’s probably a pretty good chance that you’re going to end up at someone’s viewing party, or maybe you’ll even host one yourself.

Either way, there are things to keep in mind, and your good friends at Mid-Major Madness are here to help. Read these tips and maximize your enjoyment of the games.

If you’re a host...

  • First of all, be sure you have a place big enough to accommodate your guests. If you live in a small apartment (like me), maybe your spot isn’t the right place.
  • Building off that, make sure you have enough seating. Just about anything will suffice as long as guests don’t have to park themselves on the floor. Drag those old folding chairs out of the basement if you have to.
  • Have a decent variety of snacks. A couple types of chips, a variety of dips, cheese & crackers, desserts, etc. You don’t need to go all out, but have enough there so nobody goes hungry.
  • Same thing goes for drinks. Get some soft drinks, swing by the liquor store (if it’s that kind of party), and make sure you have ice. This should be the easiest part.
  • Let’s talk main entrees! Chances are if you’re hosting a party it will coincide with at least one main meal at some point during the day, and you’ll want to provide something more than just snacks and appetizers. Some good options: wings, pizza, sandwiches, and grilled meats. This is not the time to try that new vegan recipe that you saw on Pinterest. Stick to the classics.
  • If possible, have multiple games showing at once. Drag that second TV out of the man cave and get it set up. If multiple screens isn’t an option, place the remote in the hands of someone who you can trust to be quick on the trigger during commercial breaks.
  • Enjoy yourself. Don’t feel like you need to wait on people hand and foot. Take a seat, grab a drink and some snacks, and watch the games. After all, that’s the whole point of hosting the party. Follow these guidelines and everyone will want you to host the party every year.

If you’re a guest...

  • Most importantly, respect the rules of the house. If it’s your first time to the host’s home, just ask. Be proactive and you’ll avoid looking like a fool later.
  • Offer to bring something! Even if it’s something as simple as a bag of chips, some 2-liters of soda, or paper plates, the host will appreciate the kind gesture. Along those lines, don’t bring something that only YOU like.
  • Clean up after yourself. Nobody wants to clean up your plate of salsa and half-empty beer. It’s not hard, just pick it up and throw it in the trash.
  • Put your drink on a coaster!!!!!
  • Don’t be critical of the host’s home, food, or really anything. They invited you out of the kindness of their heart, so appreciate it.
  • Know your limit. Don’t get belligerently drunk and try to kiss John’s wife by the chip bowl. Not cool.

Other things to keep in mind...

  • Do not be The Bracket Guy. Oh you correctly picked that 14 seed upset correctly? Cool. Nobody cares. Your bracket sucks and so do you.
  • Similar to Bracket Guy, don’t be Stats Guy either. Knowing the shooting percentage of State College Directional Tech’s point guard will not impress that girl on the other side of the room that you’ve been trying to flirt with. Keep the useless stuff to yourself.
  • No backseat coaching from the couch either. Just let people enjoy the games, man.
  • Please, for the love of all things good in college basketball, do not yell constantly at the TV.
  • Just have fun. Enjoy the food, the good company, and be happy that you get to spend the best two days of the year without a care in the world.