NCAA ® Basketball Tournament Viewing Party – HOOPLA Party Bluprint™
Host a March Madness Party, once, twice or more! Three weeks of tournament play makes any day a good day for getting together with friends, family or co-workers to watch some good basketball. A viewing party is an easy and fun party to host, so create some “hoopla” this March. Here’s the game plan:
Here’s an overview of the NCAA® Tournament schedule. See what date(s) works for you and get going on planning your party. It’s one of the easiest parties to host – all you need are a television, viewing area, bar food, beverages and guests!
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Dates to know:
2016 First Four
Tuesday, March 15 and Wednesday, March 16
- Dayton, Ohio University of Dayton Arena Dayton Flyers, host
2016 First Weekend
Thursday, March 17 and Saturday, March 19
- Denver, Colo. Pepsi Center Mountain West Conference, host
- Des Moines, Iowa Wells Fargo Arena Iowa State Cyclones, host
- Providence, R.I. Dunkin Donuts Center Providence Friars, host
- Raleigh, N.C. PNC Arena North Carolina State Wolfpack, host
Friday, March 18 and Sunday, March 20
- Brooklyn, N.Y. Barclays Center Atlantic 10 Conference, host
- Oklahoma City, Okla. Chesapeake Energy Arena Big 12 Conference, host
- St. Louis, Mo. Scottrade Center Missouri Valley Conference, host
- Spokane, Wash. Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena Idaho Vandals, host
Thursday, March 24 and Saturday, March 26
- West – Anaheim, Calif. Honda Center Big West Conference, host
- South – Louisville, Ky. KFC YUM! Center Louisville Cardinals, host
Friday, March 25 and Sunday, March 27
- Midwest –Chicago, Ill. United Center Big Ten Conference, host
- East – Philadelphia, Pa. Wells Fargo Center La Salle Explorers, host
2016 Final Four
Saturday, April 2 and Monday, April 4
VIEWING PARTY ‘GAME PLAN’
- Make sure your television is in good working order. If your cable/satellite provider requires purchase of a NCAA® Tournament package to watch the basketball games you want, place your order and make sure the channel(s) you ordered are working properly before the party. If you want to watch multiple games during your party, bring in some laptops and stream games live, http://www.ncaasports.com/mmod.
- Invite guests to arrive 30 minutes before game time. This allows everyone to catch up before the game starts.
- Create a comfortable “viewing area” where all seats allow for a good view of the game. Bring in extra chairs, stools, ottomans, beanbag chairs, and oversized pillows for additional seating. Make it easy for guests to enjoy food and beverages while watching the game by offering surfaces and coasters for guests to rest glasses and plates.
- Prepare beverages and food ahead of guests’ arrival. Set up a beverage bar and buffet style “bar food” station. Tell guests to make themselves comfortable and help themselves to beverages and food at their convenience throughout the party.
- Always have a designated driver and drink responsibly.
This party is all about BASKETBALL and being a fan, so plan your menu around these two things and you’ll score big. The idea, of course, is to watch and eat at the same time, so serve food you can eat without a fork and knife. This menu features “bar food” favorites – items you would find in a sports bar. Topping the list of fan favorites are serious sliders, Buffalo wings, chips and dip, and popcorn. Whoop it up with your dessert and serve Whoopie Pies – a definite fan favorite. Finish strong in the fourth quarter with a must-have munchie, popcorn.
Tip-off: Set up a beverage bar for your guests to help themselves. Beer and basketball go hand in hand so serve up a variety of beer from some of your favorite basketball teams’ hometowns. Keep them on ice so guests can grab a cold one as needed. For non-alcoholic beverages stick with the beer theme and offer root beer, birch beer, ginger beer, non-alcoholic beer, in addition to pitchers of lemonade, iced tea and water.
QUARTER POUNDER SLAM DUNK SLIDERS
Feed a crowd with this easy to prepare recipe for mini burgers that are a slam dunk. This recipe allows you to prepare a tray of sliders ahead of time, so all you have to do is lift them out of the dish, pop them on the grill, slide them in a roll, and serve them up.
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 lbs. ground beef (85% lean)
- 2 pkgs. sliced potato rolls/slider rolls (12 rolls/pkg.) – smaller than hamburger rolls
- Place ground beef in an extra-large bowl and mix in onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and salt – incorporate seasonings into meat by gently mixing with your hands, but do not overwork it.
- Distribute meat mixture evenly in a 13” x 9” baking dish. Cover meat completely with plastic wrap or wax paper. Using your hands, gently apply pressure to ensure an even distribution of mixture across the pan (don’t pack meat down too much).
- Cut the meat into 15 even squares (tip-off: cut tray into a 3 x 5 grid – yields 15 sliders). Cover and refrigerate. Preheat either your outdoor grill or indoor grill/grill pan. Remove tray from refrigerator to take the chill off the meat. When grill is heated, simply lift out burgers and place on greased grill. Cook burgers for 6-7 minutes per side or until they reach desired degree of “doneness”. Serve up in buns and allow guests to top with their own selection of condiments. We topped ours with white American cheese and caramelized onions.
- To make caramelized onions, coat bottom of fry pan with olive oil. Heat on medium heat. Add two large sweet onions sliced and coat thoroughly with oil. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Continue stirring onions until translucent. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar and cook until onions are caramelized (after 20-30 minutes they should be golden brown, continue to stir throughout cooking process).
BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
Surprise your guests by whipping up this delicious dip featuring the flavor of Buffalo wings combined with 2 dreamy creams. Serve with a variety of scoopers (tortilla chips, crackers, celery).
- 1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cups cooked and cubed chicken
- ½ cup hot sauce
- ½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. In a 4-cup baking dish, spread cream cheese evenly over bottom of dish. In a separate bowl mix chicken, sour cream and hot sauce – spread this mixture over cream cheese. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, and/or celery.
Fuel the fans’ flames and add to the “hoopla” with these easy to prepare Buffalo wings. This recipe takes the muss and fuss out of making wings. Simply bake them until golden brown and then toss in buffalo wing sauce. Serve them with sides of celery and bleu cheese or ranch dressing. One other must-have side – hand wipes, display individually wrapped packets in a bowl near the wings and napkins for easy cleanup.
- 48 wings
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup hot sauce
- 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Place a metal cooling rack on a large baking pan (make sure to use a baking pan with sides to contain the grease that will drip from the wings as they bake). Arrange wings in a single layer on rack and bake for 40-50 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Bake until desired “crispiness” is reached. Meanwhile, in a saucepan melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in hot sauce and cayenne pepper – set aside. In a large bowl add cooked wings and wing sauce, mix thoroughly covering wings completely. Serve with celery and bleu cheese (or ranch) dressing.
In honor of basketball’s classic colors, orange and black, whip up a batch of these delectable chocolate whoopie pies filled with orange cream. Fans will be whooping it up after they taste this hand-held cake that is just the right balance of sweetness, creaminess and moist cake.
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tbsp. oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick butter
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp. orange food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350°. Using a mixer, mix all cake ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds and then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Using a small ice cream scoop (1 tbsp.), drop dough onto greased cookie sheet (leave 1 1/2 “ – 2” between each). Bake 8-9 minutes. Cool thoroughly on cooling rack.
- Prepare whoopie pie filling: in mixer, combine softened butter and cream cheese. Mix in vanilla. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well. Add in food coloring and mix thoroughly.
- Using small ice cream scoop, drop filling on center of underside of cake cookie, top with another cake cookie and apply a bit of pressure to distribute filling. Continue with remaining cake cookies until all whoopie pies are assembled.
Every viewing party needs munchies, and popcorn is the must-have munchie for this party. Make it easy on yourself and your guests by popping up Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowls and displaying them near your viewing area so guests can help themselves whenever they like.
Decorate your viewing room for the fans. If you all cheer on the same team, decorate with the team colors and hang pennants, flags and posters. Encourage guests to show their spirit and to dress in their team colors and apparel. If you have a mixed crowd, decorate with a general basketball theme so there is no home court advantage. Add some fun to your décor by hanging hoops and letting them have a little “foam fun” by tossing around the foam basketball. If you have the room bring in a pop-a-shot or portable basketball net, set up an area out of the way of the viewing area and let guests play some hoops.