TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — After COVID-19 knocked out last year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, this year’s march madness is bringing many fans a little bit of hope and much needed excitement.

For any college basketball fan, this is the best time of the year..

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It’s clear Marylanders missed their NCAA tournament basketball.

At Hightopps in Timonium, TVs are lined up throughout the space for fans to enjoy. And the staff here are also looking for a win of their own.

The brackets are back and filled out.

“I’m excited for what’s to come,” said fan Beau Severn.

So let the madness begin!

Basketball fans united at Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium hours before teams took the court in march madness.

Benjamin lansing, basketball fan
“It’s definitely a blessing to be back,” said Benjamin Lansing, “Since not having it last year its definitely something I missed this time of year.”

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“We’re excited,” said Hightopps manager Melissa Bailiff. “We’re happy to see everybody out.”

Restaurants also looking to score big as they welcome fans to celebrate the NCAA tournament..

After last year’s experience fell short due to covid-19.

“Who doesn’t love march madness?” said Bailiff. “We didn’t really get to see it last year. So we get St. Paddy’s Day and March Madness all in the same week, so we’ll take it.”

While the staff at Hightopps is looking forward to a boost in business, they’re not letting their guards down.

“We have our tables separate. We have a large outdoor area again,” Bailiff added. “And it’s definitely separated for people to sit and feel safe with their family.”

Win or lose, hoops fans are just happy that the madness is back in March and being able to safely come together to cheer on their teams again.

“The big thing is just hanging out, watching the games,” said Severn. “That’s what I’m excited for.”

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“It feels good,” Lansing said. “A return again to normalcy.”