March Madness

tvparty320.jpgDon't get us wrong; Christmas is really nice, but it doesn't lend itself to office pools and friendly wagering. That's why we tend to think of March as the most wonderful time of the year. And when we turn on the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament - aka March Madness - Thursday and Friday on CBS, it will feel like Christmas morning over and over again - especially if there are multiple overtime games and poor officiating. So if you're like us and think hearing Jim Nantz's voice is akin to hearing Bing Crosby wish you a White Christmas, call your friends and neighbors, because we are throwing a March Madness party!

Setting the scene:
Let's hope you have a decent-size living room for this one: We need you to clear out every stick of furniture and split the room in half - one side for old-school hoops, one side for new-school. You'll want to lay down BounceBack flooring on the new side, replete with a 54-inch portable hoop and backboard from Spalding. On the other half of the room, lay down raw sheets of plywood and mount a real wood bushel basket with the bottom cut out. (It'll bring a tear to James Naismith's eye.) Have new basketballs for each guest, which they can keep. Since we aren't sure which teams have made it this far in the tourney, load up the room with banners, pennants, posters, mugs, clocks, foam fingers, chairs and umbrellas from the teams that will eventually make us cry out loud - Syracuse, Texas, Ohio State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, etc. Make sure you have enough folding chairs to bring onto the court for timeouts in front of the big-screen TV. Invitations should be printed brackets.

Attire:
Guests need to come in jerseys or T-shirts for their alma maters, whether they made the tournament or not. Loyalty is not optional in March. (Extra points for guests in basketball shorts and high-tops.)

On the menu:
Nothing says "college basketball" like beer and nachos, but you'll want to add something heartier to the menu, so order pizzas and subs piled high on the visitors bench. Guests each get their own sports water bottles with a towel.

On the hi-fi:
Basketball by Kurtis Blow, Hoop in Yo Face by 69 Boyz, Basketball Jones by Cheech & Chong, Remember the Name by Fort Minor, Roundball Rock by John Tesh, Jump Around by House of Pain, One Shining Moment by Jennifer Hudson.

The showstopper:
What says "I love college basketball" more than a hot-air balloon shaped like a basketball hovering above your house during March Madness? Right. So call Aerostar International and tell them to get to work on a nonregulation roundball!