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With March Madness quickly approaching, it’s important to have a plan to maximize your viewing potential. The tournament comes but once a year, and those first four days of nearly non-stop basketball are the closest thing imaginable to a sports devotee’s nirvana. But, of course, you have to be prepared.
First, location is important. There are several options here, and some of them depend on the time of day. The tournament’s nominal tip-off is Tuesday and Wednesday night, but as a connected sports fan like yourself knows, the real action starts Thursday afternoon, on March 17.
Afternoon games. In the dark early 2000s, a hard-working office hand would be reduced to following games via slowly updating web pages. But it’s 2016, and the introduction of streaming games online means work is no longer a barrier. Of course, there’s the chance of a nosy boss stalking around the cubicles to see if you’re actually doing your job. You’re clearly not, so feel free to abuse the ‘Boss Button,’ a feature CBS introduced in 2006 to instantaneously conceal your misdeeds. Go from the final seconds of the Louisville-Robert Morris thriller to a professional smokescreen in the blink of an eye. Then you can remain employed, which is especially important because you just lost $150 on another bad Cinderella pick.
Evening games. Things become simpler when the night games come on. Depending on your preference, you can either head to a sports bar or find a good spot on the couch. Across the state, sports bars are offering specials to give you a good viewing experience.
- Jeff’s Taproom and Grille, Bridgeville. Specials: Sliders for 99 cents each, wings for 79 cents each, 22 oz. Budweiser, Bud Light and Coors Lights for $3.
- Touchdown Restaurant, Dover. Specials: $3 tall Bud Lights and Budweiser draughts, $4 jumbo hot dogs.
- Grotto’s Pizza, Newark. March Mania Bracket Challenge: Enter your bracket for a chance to win free pizza for one year.
- Stanley’s Tavern, Wilmington. $2.50 Bud Light pints, $3.50 Shock Top pints, $4.50 Goose Island IPA. Spend $15 on any combination of the three and you are entered for a chance to win a Bud Light Beach Cruiser bike.
- Be gutsy. Everybody knows a 12 seed is going to beat a 5 seed. Picking that upset isn’t even cool anymore. Go for a 13 over a 4 or beyond. If it hits, you’ll look like a genius, and unlike most genius-level achievement, the effort is absolutely minimal. It’s a perfect situation.
- Don’t fall in love. It happens to the best and the worst of us. Somebody comes in with a lot of hype, you go all in on them and then they lose on a buzzer-beater alley-oop. (Disclaimer: Regardless of any advice, everyone does this and it is impossible to avoid.)
- Be dumb. It works. Sometimes being stupid pays off. Why do you think everybody loves March Madness so much?
- Don’t expect too much. March Madness has gotten so big, sometimes we equate it to the NBA. If you do that, the actual level of play in the tournament will massively disappoint you. Just compare it to a group of friends in a pick-up game where nobody can successfully cross-over dribble without sustaining an injury. It’s a lot more impressive.
- Pay attention to the benches. Bench celebrations are amazing, and in the last two minutes of a game or during any type of momentum swing in March Madness, they go to a whole other level.
- Celebrate. In accordance with the previous tip, think of celebrations for yourself. Ones that won’t get too old, something to go back to over and over again when the team you picked is on a run. Maybe you’re shooting the TV with a bow and arrow, maybe you’re blowing out the birthday candles, maybe you just mutter “No doubt” every time they shoot. It has to be subtle to stick. When the game ends, that’s when you blow it out. Chest-bumps, dancing, screaming, it’s all on the table when the clock hits zero.
- Heed outside advice with caution. Most people have been filling out brackets since they were seven or eight years old, and they all only have one, maybe two, that they can look back on proudly. Trust yourself. You’re only as bad as the rest of us.