For sports fans, the most wonderful/unproductive time of the year has arrived.
The first weekend of March Madness, the all-day basketball bonanza that runs from early afternoon to late night from Thursday to Sunday, is my happy place. Other than opening day in baseball, it's my favorite time to watch sports all year. From pulling games up during class in high school to ordering multiple calzones to span the day in college, I consider myself a veteran of tourney watching.
Because of that, I've put together a list of everything you need to binge March Madness. So whenever you get a chance to plop yourself down on the couch and tune in, here's exactly what you will need.
1. A TV (or two) for maximum watching
This is obviously the crown jewell of the whole operation. Over the past few years, my friends and I have set up two or three TVs depending on the logistics. One hooked up to cable and at least one hooked up to streaming (see later). We’ll get multiple games going at once, but it also works for any other viewing too.
If you’re going to go big with a TV, we recommend the LG C7 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV, while if you’re looking to save some money, check out the VIZIO E43U-D2 43 inch LED 2160p 4K Ultra HD Home Theater Display.
2. Gatorade Frost Glacier Freeze (light blue) for hydration
Some, including myself, would call light blue Gatorade the nectar of the Gods. It’s good for any occasion — sports, snacking, re-hydration, anything. Plus, you can feel like you're on the bench even if you haven't done any physical activity in two days.
If you need something to quench your thirst even though you're not actually playing in the games, there’s nothing better. I’d also recommend yellow or orange Gatorade, but I think red kind of stinks. Beer also works too, for what it's worth.
3. A slow cooker to feed your basketball obsession
Whether you’re putting whatever you have in the fridge into it or you got a grocery delivery to make something high-class, a slow cooker is the easiest and laziest way to cook your food.
Put the food in, set the timer and press a button before the afternoon games and your chili will be done by the evening games. Easy.
We recommend a couple of different slow cookers depending on how much you want to spend, but both the Cuisinart MSC-600 and the Hamilton Beach Set n’ Forget will get the job done.
4. Your laptop to join the conversation online
Pull up the live stream or score tracker for other games and sports, shop, check social media or keep your laptop close just in case — but hopefully not — you have to send any work emails or take care of anything while staring at the TV all day.
If you're in the market, we reviewed our top overall laptops for 2018 and our favorite was the Dell XPS 13 which at its highest price can be expensive, but is worth it and is also available at different prices for different features.
5. This streaming device for an extra game at all times
Pull up another game or Netflix with ease on the Roku Ultra so you can make sure you’re watching every game you possibly can or appeasing others with a different viewing choice.
With easy-to-use features and an easy setup, the Roku Ultra will make it easy to watch whatever.
6. Headphones to 'keep it down over there'
We’re all in it together. If you're watching at work, someone else needs you to be quiet or you want to drown out that annoying fan and hear the commentary, fire some headphones up and slip into your own world.
We picked our top headphones of 2018 and the winner was the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 wired headphones.
7. The Echo Dot to go above and beyond
It’s cheap, can play music, change the channel, tell you scores, turn the TV on and off and much more.
If you’re too lazy to check your phone or your laptop, just have Alexa tell you what you need to know or order food for you.
8. A robot vacuum to clean while you lounge
With all the chips, pizza, calzones and more, there will be crumbs — so have something clean for you.
The iRobot Roomba 980 was our top choice for robot vacuums this year, with Wi-Fi connectivity and more amazing features.
For something less expensive but still effective, the iLife A4s is a solid choice to get the job done. Either way, let a robot vacuum clean up the crumbs by the couch from your all-day snacking.
9. Sweatpants to spill food on and not care
Black, blue or gray Nike sweatpants have been go-to’s for loungers like myself for years and I've probably had the same sweats since probably middle school.
They’re comfy, you can wear them anytime, anywhere and for weeks on end without washing (we all do it). They're perfect for comfort while watching basketball on your couch all day.
10. These comfy slippers to keep your feet warm
I’ve always been a slipper guy and my family has always been an L.L.Bean slipper family, so you can catch me with these on my feet pretty much any time I don’t have shoes on.
They’re warm, comfy, durable and available in a ton of different styles other than the ones pictured above. Keep those feet warm and dodge your dirty floors.
11. A flannel to look good while watching
Some would go with a hooded sweatshirt or obviously team gear here and that’s all good, but if your team isn't playing or you're looking to class it up, a flannel is where it’s at. Button it up when you’re cold, unbutton when you need to breathe a little.
Like sweatpants, they also can take a little bit of a beating and still hold up.
12. These comfy blankets for multiple reasons
Whether it's covering your eyes in tense moments, or catching some z's through a snoozefest game, you're going to need a blanket at some point during the weekend festivities.
Thankfully, we rounded up 15 for you to choose from.
13. Pillows to rest your head or scream into
Again, these games go all day and you might take a nap to have some energy for the late games. For a quick snooze, I always have a bowl of pretzels and watch some golf, but that’s personal preference. Or, if you have some choice curse words when your team loses or you lose a bet, the pillow hears all.
We compiled the best bed pillows of 2018 and our winner was the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam pillow.
14. Your phone as your link to the outside world
Probably the most obvious one on the list, but it’s essential in a number of ways. Aside from communication with the outside world (if you have to), streaming and social media, it’s access to quick and easy food that'll spare you only a second of missing the hoops action.
Whether it’s Amazon Fresh so you can get your groceries from the couch, a Pizza delivery or Uber Eats, you can order on the couch, sit on the couch while it’s being made and all you have to do is get up once for delivery.
If you’re in the market for a new phone, we recommend the Apple iPhone 8 and the Samsung Galaxy Note8, which are our best smartphones of 2018.
15. Chargers so at least your phone has juice even if your team doesn't
While the phone is the most obvious, the charger is arguably one of the most important.
Get yourself a long one to plug into those outlets that are hard to reach so you don’t have to awkwardly maneuver on the couch to answer your texts. Games go late into the night, so you'll need to keep your phone charged for all of it.
Get the iSPECLE 6-foot iPhone charger on Amazon for $11.99
Get the iXCC micro USB cable on Amazon for $4.99
(Wall-plugs not included)