How to keep up with basketball this March no matter where you are
(BPT) - College basketball fans wait all year for the competition, tears, and excitement that make up the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Since its inception in 1939, the way fans participate in, and follow along with the tournament has completely evolved. Today's fast-paced and highly publicized tournament requires a fresh look at the best ways to follow your favorite teams and celebrate this long-standing college sports tradition.
Staying informed on the tournament results is a top priority for many sports fans this year - even during work hours, according to a recent MSN survey. In fact, 86 percent of survey respondents said they plan to devote at least some time during their work day to follow the games, with more than half (56 percent) planning to dedicate at least one hour of work during the first two days of the tournament to watching games, getting updates or following scores. With 67 total games and teams from four regions participating in the annual tournament - there is a lot to keep track of. To get a one-stop view of breaking trends from across the Web, what people are saying about the teams and why it matters, including the most interesting conversations happening on Facebook and Twitter - visit msnNOW.
While the weeks surrounding this tournament might not allow March to be the most productive work month of the year, it sure does make for some exciting competition. If watching the tournament is high on your priority list, MSN's lifestyle expert Karin Muskopf has tips on how you can best embrace college basketball's most exciting month of the year.
* Put your money where your mouth is. 2012 could be your year to win the office betting pool - while 42 percent of respondents said they won't be entering any betting pools this year, this only increases your chances of winning. Do your research, place your bets and use your winnings to buy a ticket to next year's championship game.
* Embrace technology. There are so many options to help you stay on top of the tournament, ensuring you don't miss a minute of basketball this March. For example, msnNOW taps into conversations happening on Facebook, Twitter, Breakingnews.com and Bing, giving you instant and anywhere access to the real-time buzz on the latest odds, player injuries or expert commentary. It's never been easier to stay up to date at home, on the go, or at the office - you just might want to make sure your boss doesn't catch you checking scores during your afternoon staff meeting unless he or she is a fan as well.
* Have some fun. The tournament falls right in the middle of the winter lull - the holidays have passed and summer is still too far away to start the countdown, so why not use it as an excuse to throw a party and cheer up your friends. Encourage guests to wear their favorite team's jersey, serve game day food and cue up the ESPN "Jock Jams" playlist during commercial breaks so that even those less interested in the outcome of the games can enjoy themselves.
"For our party this year, we're sending out tournament brackets as our invitations so our guests can fill them out before they come and we can kick things off right away," says Muskopf. "A little friendly competition keeps things interesting and adds to the excitement of the party."
* Involve your partner. As the biggest event in NCAA basketball, the tournament isn't just for the boys. Invite your loved one, roommate, friends, or a date to watch the games with you. Keeping your significant other informed of the latest tournament favorites, winners and losers will help them get invested in the outcome - and might even allow you to rule the remote all month. According to the survey, most people don't want to watch the games alone. When given a choice of sitting alongside celebrities Ashley Judd, Matthew McConaughey, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Rudd, or Barack and Michelle Obama, the majority of respondents (42 percent) stated a preference for sharing courtside seats with Ashley Judd. Whether you're sitting next to Ashley Judd or your spouse, the games are better together!
To see the most up-to-date basketball tournament conversations happening on Facebook, Twitter, Breakingnews.com and Bing, visit msnNOW