> How to Throw the Perfect College Basketball Viewing Party - Doused in Pink | Chicago Style Blog

How to Throw the Perfect College Basketball Viewing Party

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #CelebrateTheMadness #CollectiveBias

College basketball is a big deal in our house! We've always watched basketball together and consider it good family time fun. I love to entertain, and my husband likes to have get-togethers for sporting events. So, today I wanted to share how to host a viewing party for The Big Tournament! 

The great thing about The Big Tournament this month is that it spreads out across several dates so you can effortlessly throw together a watch party and have lots of options for dates! Once you create your guest list, get the invitations out. Take advantage of a free online invitation service that offers college basketball themes. Love that you can send them by text now too! If you are going to start a bracket pool, send one out with your invites!

Start thinking about your decorations right away. For decor, there are so many routes you can go! I decided on an orange and black theme, but you could also use your favorite teams color scheme. At the bare minimum, you will need some plates, napkins, and cups plus any other fun details you want to add.  

Plan your menu and create your shopping list. A watch party is pretty low key so you can keep the food simple. Pick things that are easy to grab and go. Think hearty, concession stand or tailgate type appetizers. 

Carrots & celery with ranch dip 
Pulled chicken sliders 
White chicken chili dip
Jewel Chicken wings

You don't want to be stuck in the kitchen when the game is on so I take advantage of the convenience and ease of picking up Open Nature Rotisserie Chicken and Jewel Chicken Wings from my local Jewel-Osco. They offer it their deli area daily and I used it to make the pulled chicken sliders and white chicken chili dip.

Don't forget to stock up on drinks including plenty of Coca-Cola products while you are shopping at your local Jewel-Osco

Every party needs a tasty dip! I made a few modifications to my white chicken chili recipe to turn it into a dip. You can make this a few days before and reheat on game day.

I doctored up white frosted cupcakes to look like basketballs with orange food color spray and black icing writing pen

To make the pulled sliders, I cut a package of Hawaiian rolls in half lengthwise and placed in a glass baking dish. Layer the pulled rotisserie chicken and provolone cheese slices on top of the rolls and place the top back on. Mix together 2 TBS melted butter, 2 TBS dijon mustard, and 1 TBS sugar. Brush the mixture evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Plan out your decor and layout of your rooms. If you have plenty of space, set up more than one viewing area since there may be multiple games on at the same time. Or if your guests will be bringing kids, you might want to have a separate game area for them. Pull in extra seating from other rooms in your home and arrange so that all of our seating is facing the TV. Clear out your coat closet so that you have plenty of hanger space for your guest's coats.

I thought it would be fun to set up a concessions stand for my appetizers. That way whenever your guests want to eat, they can walk up and load up on whatever they want. I found the pom-pom garland at the dollar store, borrowed a nerf basketball hoop from a friend and brought the popcorn machine up from the basement. Make sure to chill your favorite Coca-Cola products beforehand. They pair well with everything on my menu!

A few days before clean your house and decorate. The day before, arrange your furniture and prepare your make-ahead appetizers. On party day, chill your drinks, set up your serving area and display your food. When guests arrive, you should be good to go so you can relax and enjoy The Big Tournament with them! Here's a handy countdown to game day checklist for you:

How do you celebrate college basketball season?

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