March Madness 2012: Power Ranking Best Places to Watch the NCAA Tournament

Max RogersCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2012

March Madness 2012: Power Ranking Best Places to Watch the NCAA Tournament

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    Looking for the best places to catch all of the 2012 March Madness? Well, look no further. Here is a ranking of the five best options, including online streaming and 2012 NCAA tournament ticket information. 

    Before we get started, make sure you have your March Madness bracket filled out. Even if you’re not in an NCAA tournament pool, it will make your viewing experience much more exciting.

    To get a printable NCAA tournament 2012 bracket click here.

    CBSSports has an online version here, as does ESPN and NCAA. Or you can find any number of other online brackets on your own. 

    Go ahead and fill out your bracket, and I’ll wait here until you’re done…OK, now that your bracket is filled out, let’s get you set up on where to actually watch all 67 games.

    There certainly are a lot of choices when it comes to how to actually view the games: online, TV, sports bars, in person, Las Vegas…but where is the best place to catch all the March Madness 2012 action?

    To find out the best places (including suggestions for all four regions) and how to get access to all 67 NCAA tournament games, keep reading.

No. 5: Catch the Games Online

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    Earlier this month the LA Times discussed a report in which it was revealed that March Madness results in more than $1 billion in wages paid to distracted workers. Additionally, during the first two days of the tournament, employers will likely pay $175 million to employees who are checking out games online, looking at scores or managing office pools. 

    To that I say, until March Madness is given the proper respect it deserves and the first two days of the NCAA tournament are made a national holiday, employers are going to have to just deal.

    The No. 5 spot on this list is watching March Madness 2012 online.

    CBS, TruTV, TNT, and TBS will be covering all of the NCAA tournament games.

    You can also watch all the games online with the March Madness Live option.

    There are also apps for those wishing to use their mobile devices to watch the games. Click here to read PC Magazine's opinions on the 2012 March Madness mobile options. 

    However, if you can manage to get away from the office or a spring break beach cabana for a bit, there are many more options. 

No. 4: TV (at Home)

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    If you've had a long day at work, the beach/bars or anywhere, for that matter, and you just want to go home, turn on the game and relax. Your own living room may be the best option, and the No. 4 spot on the list.

    Bonus points are awarded for having multiple screens or TVs large enough and capable of showing multiple games at the same time. 

    For those of you with a TV(s) that fits the above requirements and looking to catch a few games in the confines of your home, you can find all the network and times schedules for the Thursday and Friday games here.

    If you are unable to catch any or all of the Madness, if you have a DVR you can always record the games.

    Comcast has made it easy for you to set up your DVR to record the NCAA tournament 2012 games. Click here to go to the NCAA tournament schedule and to setup recording options.

    For other service providers, check with your cable provider, as it may have similar options.   

    Up next: power ranking sports bars in the Midwest, West, East and South Regions. These are just recommendations, but feel free to comment and let me know if I picked an "Iona" with one of these. 

No. 3: Midwest Region Sports Bar

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    Making the Midwest Region No. 1 seed, and the four-way tie for the No. 3 spot on this list is Between the Buns in South Bend, Ind. (1803 South Bend Ave.) In 2010, this sports bar was an ESPN No. 1 finalist for best sports bars in America.   

    One yelp reviewer described Between the Buns with the following statement: "They take their sports seriously here, to the point of asking if you've come to watch a specific game, and seating you accordingly."

    That's what you want to hear when it comes to a sports bar. While some places may have better wings or more choices when it comes to beer, remember you are there to watch the game. If you can't watch the game, it doesn't matter how amazing your nachos were. 

No. 3: West Region Sports Bar

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    Making the No. 1 seed in the West Region is Murphy's Law Irish Bar and Grill in Las Vegas. (1590 E. Flamingo Rd.)

    If you want to celebrate St. Patrick's day this weekend, and still get your March Madness on, this Irish bar in the Nevada desert may be the perfect place. 

    One yelp review described the place like this: "Yes...It's an Irish bar...But, it's an Irish bar done with a Vegas twist. It's dark, and has that pub feel, but there's also a wall of tv's and more tv's everwhere you look...They also have a sports betting kiosk on sight, which makes it a great place to go watch a game and place your bet without getting in the lines at the casinos. The service here has always been above and beyond what I'm used to in Vegas..."

No. 3: East Region Sports Bar

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    The No. 1 seed in the East Region goes to Lansdowne Road in New York City. (599 10th Ave.)

    Apparently the wings are pretty good here, or as one yelp reviewer wrote: "Mouth burning, face sweating hottest wings we had EVER had was at this place. One bite into our 1st hot wings and we were all like dogs in the summer heat, with our tongues out loll!"

No. 3: South Region Sports Bar

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    With Kentucky receiving the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament, it wouldn't seem right to not give a Kentucky sports bar a No. 1 seed in the South Region.

    Therefore, the No. 1 seed in the South Region goes to Troll Pub Under the Bridge in Louisville, Ky. (150 W. Washington St.)

    If you are having trouble finding the place, as the name suggests, it is under a bridge near the Yum! Center parking garage. Be on the lookout for a giant troll. 

    One Yelp review describes the place like this: "The space is deceptively large; at first you think there is not adequate seating for your group but the hostess takes you through a seemingly labyrinthine set of rooms till you find one that is suitable or not crowded. There are television screens all over so you can watch your favorite teams play...The first time I went here, we had over 15 people in our group and everybody enjoyed the food and the overall dining experience. The service was excellent!"

No. 2: March Madness Party

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    March Madness is a social event, therefore in the No. 2 spot on this list is convincing a friend to throw a March Madness party. Because you want to watch the games, and not the oven to pull out appetizers every 30 minutes.

    Step one: find a friend that has lots space, and a big TV or two.

    Step two: invite that friend to join your NCAA tournament bracket pool.

    Step three: while you're at their house, mention how much fun it would be if someone would have a group of friends over to watch some of the games. Make a mention of how jealous you are of their TV. They'll get the hint.

    Step four: bring some drinks to the March Madness party to thank your host.

    Step five: have fun party rocking March Madness 2012-style with a group of your friends. Just be careful with who you invite, because you don't want the event to turn into a block party on the scale of "Project X." Especially if your local team is in the National Championship game. 

No. 1: Go to the Games

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    There is no better way to experience March Madness than to actually be present at the games. Therefore, in the No. 1 spot of the best places to watch March Madness 2012 is to actually go to the games.

    So put on your school's colors and go support your team in person.

    The only hitch in this plan is that you'll need to somehow find tickets. Students with schools in the games are at an advantage here, as are people with season tickets to those teams' games. But if you can get a ticket and find a way to the game, you won't regret it. 

    To find the NCAA tournament 2012 ticket information through the NCAA website click here.

    And there you have it, those are the top five places to watch the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament. Let the March Madness begin.