March has arrived. And with it, madness. March Madness, even.
It’s the time of year in which college basketball has the tournament to end all tournaments, with 68 teams vying to be the best in the country. Every team that makes the tourney technically has a chance to win the whole thing. There will be upsets. There will be heartbreak.
And there will be lots of good basketball.
We now know the full field. Selection Sunday set the schedules for the dozens of teams — including the four play-in games that hope to give Cinderella a shot.
The four play-in games — conveniently known as the “First Four” — kick things off on March 14 and 15. SE Missouri State and Texas A&M make up the first match, followed by Pittsburgh and Mississippi State in the evening game. Day 2 sees Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Texas Southern, followed by Nevada versus Arizona State.
The winners of those four games earn their way into the first round, which runs March 16 and 17, but won’t have to play again until the second day. Those winners all advance to the second round on March 18 and 19.
How to watch March Madness
All that said, it’s time to play some basketball. Games will be on CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV.
That means that you’ll be able to watch every game if you’re all-in on streaming. Many streaming services have CBS, TBS, and TNT, though you may have to double-check for TruTV — and cable and satellite should, too.
Any games that will be on CBS also will be available on Paramount+.
The tournament kicks off March 14 and 15 with the “First Four” play-in games. Those essentially put eight teams that are lucky to be there in a little mini-tournament round to earn a place in the first-round games. They’re scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on both days and will be available on TruTV.
From there, the first round takes place March 16 and 17, with 32 games starting to pare down the field. The second round comprises 16 games on March 18 and 19. From there, the teams get a little break before the Sweet 16 (so-named because that’s how many teams are left at that point) matchups on March 23 and 24. The Elite Eight games (eight teams, so four games) are on March 25 and 26.
The best streaming service for March Madness
As we mentioned before, there’s no shortage of ways to watch March Madness. The games are available pretty much anywhere you can throw money. The question, then, is which one will get you the most for the least.
The least-expensive streaming service available is still Sling TV. It’ll get you access to TBS, TNT, and TruTV. It is, however, still missing CBS — and that means you’ll be missing a lot of March Madness. You can make up for that with an over-the-air antenna if you want (and we highly recommend having one). But that still means you won’t get all the games in one place.
From there, your options grow more expensive. YouTube TV would be our first choice. It costs $65 a month and includes your local CBS affiliate, along with TBS, TruTV, and TNT. Plus it supports up to six accounts (all tied to one master Google account) and has free unlimited recording. And on top of that, you’ll get more than 100 other channels to enjoy.
Watch with NCAA March Madness Live
If for whatever reason watching on TV or streaming on your phone via the above methods just isn’t for you — maybe your work frowns on that sort of thing during the day — there’s another pretty major option with NCAA March Madness Live. The app is available for iOS and Android devices — and that includes support for CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can listen to the games while you’re on the go. Or you can just check it out in a web browser if that’s how you roll.
You’ll also find March Madness Live on other platforms such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox, Google TV, Android TV, and on smart TVs from LG.
A major feature of March Madness Live is the ability to watch up to four games at a time, in addition to traditional picture-in-picture options.
The app also will give you up-to-date brackets, so you can see in real-time just how bad your own bracket is doing, all in one place.
And that’s all in addition to traditional app things like notifications for updates and alerts.
When is the NCAA championship game and Final Four?
The Round of 16 is wrapped up. The Elite Eight is over. The Final Four is finished. And the original 68 teams will be winnowed down to a single winner in the NCAA Championship Game on April 3, 2023.
The final three games — the two semifinals and the championship — will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston. Yes, that’s the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans. But it’s a multipurpose stadium that also hosts soccer matches, rodeos, and professional wrestling. So college basketball really isn’t that far afield. Capacity for the stadium is roughly 72,000, more than double the likes of the largest traditional college basketball arena (which is Syracuse’s JMA Wireless Dome at about 34,000 for basketball).
The two national semifinal games — collectively known as the Final Four — will be played on April 1.
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