My Decades-Long Obsession With March Madness

Getting maximum enjoyment from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament–in San Diego bars or in the wilds of Las Vegas casino-resorts
A prime March Madness in Las Vegas setting: The Sportsbook at Circa Resort & Casino.

For the better part of three decades, I’ve traveled to Las Vegas with an incurable case of March Madness.

I’m in Sin City right now (March 15-18, 2023). Keeping the tradition alive with old friends.

The opening weekend of the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is the world’s greatest sports spectacle. I rank it higher than the World Series, Super Bowl or the FIFA World Cup.


The buzzer beaters. The gritty upsets. The Nostradamus-like ability of sports books to post point spreads that swing on the last play of nearly ever game in rounds one and two of the tournament.

In Vegas, the casino-resorts sell out during March Madness. They open up ballrooms, fill them with huge-screen TVs, concession foodstuffs and betting kiosks. And properties sell tickets to the hoops addicts. For four straight days there are nonstop, simultaneously broadcast games showing from sun-up to dinner time.

If you’re in downtown San Diego during this time, go out to a sports bar and catch the head-shaking college hoops action. Here’s a list of a dozen of the city’s best sports bar. (FYI: Ignore the references to NFL games–I promise to update that post once the nets are cut down after March Madness’ Final Four.)

My March Madness crew.

For the curious, here are three stories I’ve written about March Madness in Vegas over the years (originally posted on my travel website to get you up to speed:

Survival Guide: March Madness in Las Vegas. The evolution of March Madness in Vegas from fun guy’s getaway to mega-colossal, super event is real. It’s officially the busiest weekend of the year in Vegas—with 99 percent room occupancy and nearly $350 million being wagered on NCAA Tournament basketball games. This Top 10 List is based on all the ups and down from my decades of experience.

 Marking Time During March Madness in Las Vegas. We knew Woody was bringing his son this year to our annual convergence in Las Vegas. It was a first, though: No Millennial had ever joined our graying, belt-loop-loosening core of Gen X-ogenarians. How would we all deal with the passing of the baton?

March Madness 2021 at Miracle Mile Shops & Beyond. Las Vegas March Madness 2021 was all about turning every possible restaurant into a mini hoops-viewing party spot. Due to COVID restrictions, the popular, big ballroom parties were out. But whatever your agenda, you could find spots to duck into and catch the post-pandemic return of NCAA Tournament Basketball. SDSun


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