Basketball

5 Ways to Enjoy March Madness at Home

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The NCAA tournament was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their leaders correctly decided it. However, the 2021 tournament will go on with 68 teams as usual. While watching the games, there are several ways you can enjoy March Madness at home this year.

For basketball junkies, it’s too painful to remember last year when school gyms closed down, outdoor play was not allowed, therefore no bouncing balls or squeaking fresh soles on the courts. Fly Jordans accumulate dirt more than any new feather duster, and many ears are deprived of the swishing sound the ball makes when it kisses the net.

Yet, for all this, you would miss the joy and excitement of being one with the crowd, supporting and rooting for your alma mater, the loud cheers, the bright uniforms, the ever-energetic mascot, the adrenaline, the camaraderie, that fat guy with full face paint with no shirt on dancing aimlessly during an opponent’s free throw attempt. Classy and effective.

A year after the pandemic hit, now the Madness is back on track! Schools have opened their gyms to closed practices. Parents have also gained confidence that they have allowed their children to report to their teams. Health protocols were in place to provide adequate protection for the kids. Here are a few ways you can enjoy March Madness at home this year.

March Madness at Home: Back to Betting

Vegas has opened up, with sports and bracket betting all the rage. Highlights are coming in and raking in all of your attention, finally. Storylines are aplenty when watching this year’s crop of college basketball. The Zags have an undefeated record as of this writing. Michigan is fresh off an emphatic performance against rivals Michigan State. The Big 12 champions Baylor Bears will be coming into March with a head full of steam.

Heck, you would be crazy to write off even the Oklahoma State Cowboys this early provided, of course, Cade Cunningham’s injury would not be serious.) USC’s Evan Mobley and crew are trying to carry the right momentum. The Fighting Illini are not kidding around and are demanding our attention. Unlimited possibilities make March Madness the phenomenon that it is.

While the tournament’s environment will be regulated in Indiana, similar to the NBA bubble, fans may be allowed to watch. This will allow some to enjoy the game live, and student-athletes can also play without worrying about the virus.

For many of you longer hours away, you won’t need to travel far to enjoy the game. Here are five ways to enjoy the Madness right at the comfort of your home.

Make a Team Banner

Creating your banner to support your team is an entertaining way to prepare for the tournament. Shop online for materials and make your flag personal. You can also purchase one from the team’s website. After all, it’s important you feel the same joy when your favorite team gets to the Big Dance. Thus, in making a team banner, typically, you organize getting a picture of your team. But in this case, you need to get a picture of your family.

Order Chicken Wings

Log-in to your trusted and favorite food app and get spicy chicken wings, and a side of delicious dip delivered right to your doorstep. Taste the goodness while being at the edge of your couch seat. Is it too much to ask if you were eating orange chicken, hoping the Syracuse Orangemen be invited to the tourney?

Join Online Tournament Contests

Customize and enter the world of bracket betting and create your own Cinderella story! Plan out your underdog tales and earn lots of money doing it. There’s no shortage of storylines in this year’s competitors, so be the one to predict the future!

Wear your old College Jacket/Colors

The one place, it wouldn’t be embarrassing to wear the same shirt as the stranger beside you. Relive that time by wearing your school colors in support of your local teams. Get excited when Jalen Suggs sinks the opposing team in the same colors you are wearing. Go Zags indeed!

Video call with your friends

What’s better than watching your favorite team win? Sometimes, it’s watching your team beat your best friend’s team! Let them know by scheduling your Zoom calls during and after games. Hear them cringe when their clutch performer gets an offensive foul on your guy. Wouldn’t want to miss those, right?

Selection Sunday is on March 14, the big reveal where 65 teams that have qualified will be announced, including the wild card stage. The Elite Eight will cap off March on the 29th and the Final Four to start on April 3; there’s a lot of excitement coming into every household. The Championship Game will be broadcast on Monday, April 5.

Takeaway

Watching from the comfort of your own home is certainly different from the bleachers, but you may add these things to have the whole viewing experience amplified. Hang your personalized team banner, heat those chicken wings, customize your bracket online, be drenched in your school colors, and make that one big shout for joy while your friends listen to you on video.

Stay at home and get that full college basketball experience. Now that’s what you call Madness!

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Nick Whyman is an editor at Overtime Heroics and has been writing for OTH since January of 2020. Whyman is also a Senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Broadcasting.