Throw Your Own Watch Party!

The annual NCAA college basketball tournament will be unlike any March Madness that has come before. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, heading to a local sports bar isn’t an option for many. The growing trend for many fans is to throw their own watch party at home.

Even the games will look different, with a majority of the games taking place in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday is scheduled for March 14th, wth the Elite 8 match-up spread over Monday, March 29th and Tuesday, March 30th. The Final Four games will take place on Saturday, April 3rd, with the Championship Game falling on Monday, April 5th. 

If you’ve had hoop dreams of upping your theater or living room game, we’ve rounded up a few things to consider for throwing yourself a watch party right at home!

The Screen

March Madness Party Screen
Carl’s Place FlexiGray Projector Screen in Home Theater

Big games are best on a big screen. While flat screen TV’s are a popular choice for a March Madness party, a projector screen setup allows you to double your screen size and achieve a completely custom look. It’s easy to build a projector screen yourself and have your guests thinking about nothing but net. Using a piece of raw projector screen material, you can build a frame, stretch and staple the screen surface to it, and then finish it off to get the perfect high-end screen for your theater or living room.

Advice for Cord-Cutters

Are you wondering how to watch the NCAA tournament without cable? CBS All Access is a great way to catch all of the games aired on CBS. CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to show all 67 games of the tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV and their digital platforms, including March Madness Live. A subscription to Hulu, Youtube TV, or other popular live TV streaming services will give you access to the entire tournament. FuboTv is a sports-centric streaming service that includes access to all of the tournament networks as well. Of course an over-the-air antenna is always an option to explore, too, and will give you access to some of the games for free.

Carl’s Tip: Most streaming services offer a limited-time free trial that could work great for covering a watch party or two.

Advice for Split-Screen

One of the best parts of the tournament is the fact that there could be as many as four games in progress at the same time. Is it possible to watch all games simultaneously? If you happen to have an Apple TV device, split-screen viewing is made possible via the PlayStation Vue service. Or, better yet, set up more than one screen! Even if you have to put your favorite team on the big screen and another game on a smaller flat screen tv nearby, two screens are better than one!

The Brackets

A large part of what makes March Madness the sporting phenomenon that it is comes down to the widespread participation of March Madness Bracket competitions.

With the entire tournament being held in Indiana, brackets themselves will be handled differently this year and only effective for the 2021 championship. This year’s brackets will be driven and mostly determined by the overall seed list, which is the committee’s ranking of the 68 participating teams. 

There are plenty of printable March Madness brackets available online, like this one from the NCAA. Another option is to join a bracket challenge online. CBS has an intuitive bracket manager that makes it easy to compete virtually against friends, family and coworkers. Simply compare results after the games and the winner gets bragging rights (don’t let anyone call foul)!

Carl’s Tip: Work backwards – find your champions first. Bracket scoring works exponentially, so a correct prediction in the Final Four or even the Championship game earns you considerably more points than the first couple of rounds.

The Food

You probably have a handful of go-to party foods in your back pocket, but if you find yourself needing inspiration you could try planning out an Indianapolis-area inspired party menu.

  • A tenderloin sandwich. For many Indy locals, it’s impossible to have grown up without trying the classic “Hoosier” sandwich.
  • Indy chili. No matter how you serve it (we’re talking to you, noodle lovers), Indy chili is always hearty, meaty, and full of flavor.
  • Slice up some sugar cream pie. One simple dessert that tops the list of every dessert lover in Indy.

The NCAA tournament is a great opportunity to let us assist you in a set-up that is a score for your theater or living room.