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Color-changing madness

Open up IFTTT

Create a new recipe

Set ESPN as the Trigger

Program the Trigger

Halfway there

Lifx will work

Action time

Select your shade

All finished

Orbnext, too

Your Orbnext options

Philips Hue

Hue's options

Hex code specificity

There you have it

Color-changing smart LEDs are a lot of fun, and there's no better time to put them to work than March, with men's and women's college basketball teams ready to take the court and battle it out. With a little help from IFTTT, you can set your lights to automatically shine your favorite team's colors for all to see each and every time they take to the court. Here's how it's done.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

First, you'll need to create a free account on IFTTT. You can do this on the IFTTT website, or by downloading the IFTTT app to your Android or iOS device.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

In IFTTT, go ahead and create a new recipe. You'll see two halves: the Trigger (the "if this" part) and the Action (the "then that" part). We'll start with the Trigger.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Scroll through the list of channels (the services, social networks, and gadgets that work with IFTTT), and select ESPN. You'll see a few different Trigger options -- the one we want is "New game start."

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Next, you'll program the Trigger to fire off when your team starts a game. Select "Men's College Basketball" from the first drop-down menu, then pick your favorite team. I went with the good ol' Dayton Flyers.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

That does it -- the Trigger is all set. Now it's time to tell the recipe what it is we're triggering.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Of course, the thing we want to trigger is a color-changing smart bulb. You'll need one that works with IFTTT, and you've got a couple of options. Lifx is one of them -- let's start with that.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Go ahead and select your Action in the same way as you selected your Trigger -- just scroll over to the correct channel. With Lifx, we'll want to select "Change color of lights."

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

The Lifx IFTTT channel lets you select from a collection of presets. You won't find every shade, but there's enough variety to make something work. You can also select how bright you want the light to be, how quickly you want the color to change, and whether you want the recipe to run even if the light isn't turned on beforehand.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

There you go -- click "Finish" to make it official. Next time your team tips off, the lights should follow suit.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

The Orbnext color-changing LED cube has an IFTTT channel, too.

Caption by / Photo by Megan Wollerton/CNET

You don't have quite as many options with Orbnext, and it offers fewer preset colors to choose from, but for many teams, it'll still work.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Your most high profile option is probably the Philips Hue LED, the first color-changing light ever to have a channel on IFTTT.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

You'll get some of the most robust color-changing controls on IFTTT if you're using Philips Hue -- for our purposes, let's go with "Change color."

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

You can simply write the name of the color you want, and your Hue bulbs should be able to figure it out. If you want to use your school's exact shade, you can even enter its precise hex code (the code shown here gives me a perfect, UD-appropriate Columbia Blue). And don't worry, I've listed the hex codes for all 68 teams in the field here. You're welcome.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

And there you go -- just like that, you're all set to enjoy team-specific lighting changes throughout all of March Madness. If only setting your bracket was this easy.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET
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