We’re in the thick of March Madness – the Sweet Sixteen round is upon us. And now that you’re thoroughly entrenched in the insanity of it all, the idea of going hours without updates and headlines sounds painful. Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to get your NCAA fix.
There are 67 games crammed into one month, and there’s simply no way you can keep track of them all. You need a system – like RUWT. The sports-focused Android and Web app will help you tune into the important moments so you aren’t caught missing a buzzer beater during channel flipping sprees.
The services analyzes your input and preferences, plus a user-based algorithm to determine when a game becomes unmissable – say, for instance, like when Norfolk State ousted number two ranked Missouri last week (and many of our collective bracket hopes were dashed).
Thuuz has a similar agenda. You can get email or mobile alerts (for iOS and Android) when a game gets exciting on a scale of 0 to 100 (the determined number being called the “excitement quotient” — the game between Wisconsin and Syracuse this coming weekend gets a 90). And in addition to telling you when to watch, it also helps with the where, clueing you to what channel the game is on, and a nearby sports bar airing it.
In our cord-cutting day and age, sports fanatics have it rough – especially come March. So if you want consistent access to all 67 games, you pony up the $3.99 the NCAA March Madness Live content costs. For a mere $4, you will be able to watch any and all games from your iPhone, iPad, Android, or computer. Keep in mind there have been complaints of distortion from users, and the fact that this access was free last year… and then go ahead and give them your money.
If you aren’t averse to what are likely some very annoying SMS messages, you could give this Coke Zero promo a try. You offer up your phone number by texting “0” plus your favorite Division I team to “2653,” and you’ll get a code to enter here. Then you’ll get emailed instructions on how to watch the tournament for free on your iOS or (select) Android phone. Apparently, packages are still available, as it worked in our test.
If obsessively checking your bracket(s) isn’t enough, here are a few more ways to apply your March-exclusive gambling habit. Matchup Mania is a Facebook application that lets you create as many groups and bracket pools as you want and assign points to the winners. Whoever gets the most points wins — and there is a money prize involved. The overall winner gets $3,500, the runners-up get $500 each.
And for those that exist in an office with an anti-Internet fun policy, try the SportCaster app. It’s ideal for those who won’t be able to pay attention to a live stream, but still want to stay in the loop. It offers play-by-play analysis as well as real-time commentary from sports writers.
On the less technical side, there are a few apps that can purely and simply make March Madness more fun. Fancake is a new app that puts the competition into your hands by rewarding users for their correct picks. The real-time app has features like Quick Predict, which will pop up during the game and get you to wager things like whether a player will miss both, none, or one of his free throws.
If there just isn’t enough trash talking going around, give PlayUp a try. This iOS app (the Web version is in beta) lets you partake in public or private chats revolving around specific games. Version 2.0 launches this morning, with a UI focus on leagues (just skip right on ahead to NCAA, we know you’re going to), a “Live Now” scoreboard that’s sport-specific, and pumped up Facebook and Twitter integration. The update should also include faster load times and have an enhanced navigation and UI.