5 ways to make the most of this year's college basketball tournament

(BPT) - It's that time of year again - the madness is setting in. College basketball's 64-team extravaganza dominates the month of March and is one of the most-watched sports events of the year. Whether you're a die-hard hoops fan or a casual sports enthusiast, it's always fun to follow the tournament with your friends and loved ones. Here are five fun suggestions to help you make this year's event a slam dunk.

* Fill out those bracket(s). The bracket is an essential component of the season and makes following the tournament much more fun. To maximize your enjoyment, fill out a couple of brackets, one with your family and another with your friends at work. Fill one out with teams you think will win and the next with those you want to win. The more brackets you fill out, the more protection you have from those eventual bracket busters.

* Stay in the loop. Don't let the limits of your current phone provider keep you from talking about the tournament with friends and family. Total Wireless offers dependable, affordable cell phone service that will help you stay on top of the latest college basketball news. For just $35 a month, Total Wireless gives you unlimited talk and text plus 2.5 gigabytes of data on America's largest and most dependable network, all with no contract required. And families following this year's tournament will love their prepaid, no contract shared family data plans. It's the perfect way to keep up with your teams and chat about the games with your loved ones near and far. Learn more at TotalWireless.com.

* Pick a random buster. At the start of the tournament, get together with your friends and have everyone choose one team seeded 12 or lower that they feel will advance the furthest in this year's tournament. You may also draw these teams randomly. Then cheer on your bracket buster and reward the person who chose the last-standing, low seed with a prize.

* Switch it up. As the tournament progresses, teams will play in different stadiums across the country. Follow suit by watching the games in different places throughout the month. Gather with your friends and designate one person to host an event each weekend during the tournament, then gather at that location for the best game of the day. It's a great way to make the tournament inclusive for everyone.

* Food to fit the fun. Want to capture the unique flavor of this year's tournament? Pass aside the traditional game-day food and plan a menu based on the regional tastes of the team's competing in the game. Whether it's the Tex-mex of the southwest or the seafood of the Atlantic coast, adjusting your menu is a fun way to keep it fresh and exciting week after week.

The annual men's basketball tournament is the sporting event you don't want to miss, and by applying the tips above, you'll make this year's edition the best yet. So get off the bench, lace up your shoes and start drawing up a game plan - because no one wants to be left behind when the final buzzer sounds.


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