Remember where you were when Kris Jenkins' tournament-winning three went down? When Gordon Hayward's half-court prayer didn't? Remember the raw emotion of Villanova's piccolo girl and the crying Northwestern kid? The poignant progression of Sister Jean and Loyola all the way to the Final Four?
Now, thanks to the wonders of streaming and the return of the NCAA Tournament, you can bring classic March Madness moments like these right to your device or desktop. All 67 Tournament games are available at the click of a button, some of them for free.
Watching NCAA Tournament games online has become a common occurrence. Some ways require a subscription to stream, some are free with your service, some are (cough, cough) possibly illegal, but all options can help you with the cord-cutting from cable TV or to simply enjoy the game on the go. So, how do you watch NCAA Tournament games online, whether for free or paid?
Here's a breakdown of this year's schedule:
Thurs., March 18
coverage starts at 4 p.m.
Fri., March 19 & Sat., March 20
coverage starts at 12 p.m.
TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV
Sun., March 21 & Mon., March 22
coverage starts at 12 p.m.
TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV
Sat., March 27 & Sun., March 28
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Sat.), 1 p.m. (Sun.)
CBS (afternoon), TBS (primetime)
Mon., March 29 & Tues., March 30
7 p.m. (Mon.), 6 p.m. (Tues.)
CBS (Mon.), TBS (Tues.)
Sat., April 3
games start at 5 p.m.
Mon., April 5
Now, here's a look at your best options during the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
The NCAA Tournament is steeped in tradition, and there's nothing more traditional than clinging to cable. But even you cable-clingers can access the Tournament in cutting-edge ways. March Madness Live offers traditional cable subscribers as many Shining Moments as they can handle. You can simply log in through your cable account and enjoy any or all of the 67 NCAA Tournament games, along with scores, highlights, analysis and even a bracket challenge. If history's your thing — and there's plenty of it where the Tournament is concerned — you can revisit classic moments from tournaments' past. Other features include Dunks of the Day, Team Confidentials and Daily Highlights. And if you just want to dip your toe in the waters of March Madness, or you're a mid-major fan and want to catch your team's one-and-done cameo, March Madness Live offers a free three-hour trial.
You may be familiar with CBS All Access, but Paramount+ replaced it in early March. While CBS All Access allowed you to use a cable login, Paramount+ requires a monthly fee. You can watch with ads for $6 per month and an ad-free version for $10, although they're currently offering a one-month free trial. For March Madness purposes, it will carry live sports on CBS, which hosts much of the early rounds as well as the entire Final Four. Time will tell if this streaming service takes off, but the service has a deep catalog of movies and includes shows from CBS, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, and MTV, among others.
The growing army of cable cord-cutters has forced the market's hand, and one viable option is a digital antenna that allows you to access network programming in a high-quality format. Best of all, they're affordable, with many models checking in at $50 or less. Your viewing options may be limited to the major networks, but CBS is airing 24 of the Tournament's 67 games, including the Final Four and championship games, so there are plenty of magic moments to be had. Click here for a handy rundown of some reasonably priced digital antenna options.
Other Cord-Cutting Options
You cord-cutting tournament completists who can't bear to miss out on a single buzzer-beater or upset can access the games that will be broadcast on the Turner family of networks using any one of a number of streaming services. And the best part — these all offer free trials up to seven days, meaning you can indulge in that first weekend of hoops heaven guilt-free. It's like it's Thanksgiving and you're wearing your stretchy sweatpants.
• fuBo TV is a service that invites you to cut cable but keep the channels you love — including those channels that will bring you March Madness. fuBo TV broadcasts live TV over the internet, no cable required. Watch your favorite teams, network shows, news and movies on 80+ channels. Plus on-demand entertainment including full TV series. Try it free for 30 hours.
• One of the most popular cord-cutting options, Hulu + Live TV offers unlimited instant streaming of current and classic TV shows and hit movies you love — not to mention the sports offerings you crave. You can watch Hulu online (Hulu.com on Mac or PC) and on Apple iOS, Apple TV (4th gen), Android, Chromecast, Echo Show, Fire tablets, Fire TV & Fire Stick, Roku, LG TV, and Samsung TV (select models), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3 & 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Again, you can take it for a free seven-day test drive.
• Sure, you might be a little weirded out by those ads featuring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman suggestively inviting people to "Sling" (or maybe you're not; we don't know what you're into), but Sling TV is an enticing option for cord-cutters, no matter their proclivities. They bill it as "live TV, only better," and what could be better than a free trial come NCAA Tournament time, streamable through smart TVs, digital media players and apps?
• YouTube TV is a real cable cord-cutter. This live streaming service has all the mainstream local channels available: NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. That means that those 21 NCAA Tournament games we mentioned earlier that will be broadcast on CBS are available. Cost is $64.99 per month, so it's not free. That said, you can try it out for free and watch it on your mobile devices, computer and TV via streaming apps.