This post may include paid or affiliate links.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. This blog post is not medical advice. #GameForBasketball #CollectiveBias

It’s March and you know what that means. College hoops and brackets waiting to be busted! While the season is winding down, the excitement is just beginning.

The big tournament will be underway and it’s time to get your picks ready! Break out the bracket sheets and our spicy chili recipe and gather your friends. It’s going to be a wild ride this year!

Slow Cooker Chili and Printable Bracketball Score Sheets

Emotions run high as we all hope our brackets hold together – likely story! With the college basketball tournament underway, we fire up the slow cooker serve a nice batch of chili for our bball fans.

Why? Because it’s easy to make, inexpensive, and feeds everyone who comes over to watch the games! Slice up a loaf of Italian bread and you’ve got an easy meal to feed the whole crew.

How do you make slow cooker chili? It’s not too hard and I’ll share my recipe here today. PS: if you’re doing the low(er) carb thing, this chili is pretty decent on carb count, I would presume.

I don’t know the exact count per serving, but when you see the ingredients, you’ll know it’s fairly low in carbs – skipping the honey and using sugar free ketchup in the recipe would also help lower the carb count for this one.

We skip the beans all together — so it’s basically meat, veggies and spices! You can’t go wrong.

Slow Cooker Crock Pot Chili Recipe

Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

For our basketball gatherings, we’re whipping up a batch of spicy(ish) no bean slow cooker chili! Once you try this chili recipe, you’ll serve it every year for your game day parties, too. Don’t forget to check out the bracket sheet below and get everyone making their picks. I’ve added it so you can download or print it as a PDF!

Prepare all your ingredients by chopping up the onion, mince garlic if you’re using fresh garlic if you wish and get all your measurements done and ready to roll. I find it so much easier to gather everything I need, do the measurements and be prepared to cook. That way, I’m ready to go without bags, cans, bottles, and spice jars all over the counter top.


Chili Recipe Ingredients

Brown the beef on the stove top in a skillet. Add the ketchup, mustard, half of the garlic and half of the onion when the beef is nearly done.

Browning Beef Ingredients for Chili

When you have cooked your ground beef on the stove top, move it to your crock pot. If you use a higher fat beef (anything less than 90% lean), drain off the excess fat before adding it to the crock pot.

Beef Chili Slow Cooker Recipe

Add the tomatoes, onion, celery, spices and the rest of the ingredients to the crock pot.

Chili Recipe with Beef and Veggies

Stir it all together, and stir it a few times while it’s cooking if you get the chance.

Slow Cooker Crock Pot Chili Recipe

Cook for up to 8 hours on low to let the flavors dance! I say up to 8 hours because I like to pull the cord somewhere around 6 hours and it’s just right for us. 8 hours is probably the longest you’ll want to cook it.

Slow Cooker Timer for Chili

Brackets or Bust No Bean Crock Pot Chili

Brackets or Bust Chili Recipe

Brackets or Bust Chili Recipe


  • 1 lbs ground beef (I use 90%)
  • 1 yellow onion - chopped
  • 4 ribs celery - chopped
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 jar salsa - choose your fave!
  • 3 medium jalapeno peppers - sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 to 4 tbs minced garlic (your preference)
  • 1½ tbs cumin
  • 1½ tbs chili powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1½ tbs ketchup
  • 1½ tbs mustard


  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. When your beef is close to being browned, add ketchup, mustard and half of the minced garlic and half of the chopped onion.
  2. When the beef has browned, drain the grease and pour it in the slow cooker.
  3. Add all other ingredients and stir well
  4. Cook on low for up to 8 hours, allowing the flavors to mingle. Stir occasionally if you can.
  5. Serve with sour cream, and bread and butter

PS: Don’t be afraid to refrigerate this overnight in a lidded bowl and serve during the game on the next day. It’s okay to let the flavors do more mingling!

Chili Recipe and Basketball Bracket Sheets

March Basketball Brackets

Preparing for the spring basketball tournament doesn’t stop at picking out some game day food, the prep starts before hand. You’ll need to gather up your friends and do your brackets! How do you pick and play the brackets with your friends? It’s fun and easy. Here’s the run down…

  • Print a bracket sheet for each person
  • Fill out the bracket sheet (find the first team sets online) and pick your winners
  • Watch, cheer, and win…or bust your brackets!

If you want to add a bit of friendly competition to the mix, you can keep score amongst your friends. Here’s the rundown of how to keep bracket score. Points are awarded per team win. So, each time you have a team picked who moves on to the next round, you collect points as outlined below.

  • Round 1: 1 point per winning team
  • Round 2: 2 points per winning team
  • Round 3: 3 points per winning team
  • Round 4: 4 points per winning team
  • Round 5: 6 points per winning team
  • Round 6: 10 points if your team wins!

March Madness Bracket Sheet

Print Bracket Sheet »

The person with the most points at the end of the tournament (or when everyone busts their brackets) wins! There’s no need to gamble on the brackets, just like there’s no need to gamble with frequent heartburn…just have fun with it!