Ready to celebrate the 76th anniversary of the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament?
Invite over some friends and cheer your favorite team at a March Madness party!
Basketball fans everywhere wait for the fun and excitement of the “Big Dance,” the NCAA College Basketball Championship Tournament. This year March Madness kicks off on March 16th, or Selection Sunday, when 68 top teams are chosen to play. Games start March 18th, and continue through April 7th with the championship game held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Plan on either having your party early in the tournament when you can catch the most teams in action, or gather your pals for the exciting conclusion of the final four.
Here are a list of the teams that will be competing in each division in 2014:
1. Wichita State
5. St. Louis
9. Kansas State
10. Arizona State
12. NC State/ Xavier
16. Cal Poly/ Texas Southern
6. Ohio State
7. New Mexico
12. Stephen F. Austin
14. Western Michigan
15. Eastern Kentucky
16. Albany/ Mount Saint Mary’s
3. Iowa State
4. Michigan State
6. North Carolina
9. George Washington
10. Saint Joseph’s
14. North Carolina Central
16. Coastal Carolina
4. San Diego State
9. Oklahoma State
12. North Dakota State
13. New Mexico State
16. Weber State
March Madness Invitations
Our favorite idea for March Madness party invitations is to use a free printable tournament bracket sheet. Print off one of these for each guest, glue them onto orange cardstock or basketball themed scrapbook paper, and write your party information on the back. Ask your guests to fill out their brackets and bring them to the party to make a pool. Then keep track of how everyone does throughout the tournament and award a winner at the end.
If you want to send online invitations, check out the selection available at Evite.
Traditional invitations are always a great idea as well. They can set your party up to be something special before it even starts. Here are some, available from Shindigz.com
March Madness Invitations
A fun idea for a March Madness party is to ask your guests to come dressed in their favorite team colors. If you are inviting some diehard fans, you might even encourage facepaint or mascot gear and offer a prize for the best dressed party guest.
March Madness Party Decorations
March Madness basketball party printables
Since the main attraction of your party will most likely be watching a game or two on TV, be sure to arrange your furniture so that everyone can sit comfortably to talk and see the screen. You wouldn’t want anyone to miss an important play! Here are some more ideas…
Decorate using orange and black, using these colors in things such as balloons, streamers and tableware.
If you’re cheering on a favorite team, use their colors to decorate. You might also include team pennants, mascots or other school memorabilia.
Set up a soft basketball net somewhere in your main party area where guests can take turns making free throws from their seats.
Make and hang a huge posterboard tournament bracket so you can keep track of the winning teams and game scores as the tournament progresses.
Dress as a referee with a shirt and whistle and keep all your party guests in line!
Use basketball themed tableware.
Here are some products that go well with a basketball theme party:
Spalding Basketball Party Supplies
Basketball Party Danglers
Foil Basketball Balloons
March Madness Party Activities
While the main event at a March Madness party is undoubtably watching the games, here are a few ideas for activities to help keep the party lively during time outs and commercials!
- Give everyone a tournament bracket sheet and put together a party pool. Ask guests to predict the winner for each game and the score for each team. Wondering how to score a pool and make the best picks for your own bracket? Check out our NCAA Tournament Bracket guide.
- Give each guest a small soft basketball. You can use these for a number of fun activities. One idea is if anyone disagrees with a referee’s call on the floor during the game they can toss their balls at the tv. Another is to set up one or two Nerf basketball nets around the party area and have an indoor game of H-O-R-S-E with the soft balls.
- Have some guests who really aren’t that into the real game? Consider setting up another television and showing a classic basketball film such as:
* Finding Forrester
* White Men Can’t Jump
* Hoop Dreams – Criterion Collection
* Coach Carter (Widescreen Edition)
* Air Bud
- Make up a game of predictions and see who gets the most answers right. Award a prize to the winner. Some sample questions you might include are:
Which player will score first?
What will the half-time score be?
Who will make the first slam dunk?
Who will get the first personal foul?
What product will be advertised in the first commercial?
- Need to stretch your legs? Encourage your guests to play their own game of basketball in the driveway or a nearby park, or if the weather is bad, why not have an indoor dribbling contest?
March Madness Party Food Ideas
If watching a game or two is the main event of your party, your best bet for party food is probably things that people can eat in front of the TV. You can go with stadium foods like pizza, hot dogs, popcorn, and big pretzels, or make up some platters of cheese and crackers, veggies, and a variety of meats and cheeses with bread, mayo and mustard for make-your-own-sandwiches.
Cookies or brownies make good dessert options, or for an extra touch, frost some cupcakes with orange icing (add one drop of red and two drops of yellow food coloring to your vanilla icing to get orange) and use black decorator gel to make your own basketball cupcakes.
Offer a selection of drinks, including water, pop, and beer for the over 21 crowd.
March Madness Party Favor and Prize Ideas
While a March Madness party certainly doesn’t require favors, if you are playing games and want to offer prizes, or if you just want a little something special, here are some ideas that we like:
Basketball Bead Necklaces
Soft Toy Basketballs
If you enjoyed these March Madness party ideas, you might also enjoy these parties: