An easy guide to finding NCAA Tournament games online
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, 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?
First, let's look at the schedule.
Now, here's a look at your best options during the 2019 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 and CBS All Access both offer 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.
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 21 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 seven-day trials, 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.
• DirectTV Now likes to bill itself as "Live TV, Reimagined," and you can surely re-imagine yourself settling in for a weekend NCAA Tournament binge using a free seven-day trial. This AT&T service was launched in late 2016 and is compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV (4th Generation or newer), Chromecast, Roku, Android mobile devices, Chromecast (iOS and Android), iOS mobile devices, Google Chrome 50+ and Safari 8+.
• 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 seven days.
• One of the most popular cord-cutting options, Hulu with 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 $40 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.
• PlayStation Vue only offers a five-day free preview, but last we checked, the opening weekend is only four days long, so what's the problem? They bill themselves as "the most extraordinary streaming experience in live TV," so check them out and see if they're right. They offer a powerful cloud DVR and streaming on multiple devices.