Wednesday, March 13, 2019
We’re four days away from Selection Sunday, the start of March Madness, the 19-day stretch during which 68 Division I men’s college basketball teams battle it out in an effort to claim the national championship title.
What’s endeared the sport to many millions of Americans, though? The NCAA tournament brackets. According to the Smithsonian, NCAA brackets became a national phenomenon once the association expanded the tournament in 1985 to include 64 teams. In 2017, Americans filled out some 70 million brackets.
So, what’s all the fuss about?
For one, it’s extremely difficult — if not impossible — to get the perfect bracket. The NCAA has placed the odds of getting the right bracket at one in 9.2 quintillion, or one billion billions.
Where’s all the fun if there’s no winning, you wonder? Like any pick ‘em league, there’s fun in choosing your unique bracket and comparing with your friends, excitement particularly when you choose the right upset, satisfaction of setting your own personal record (but more so of beating your friends) and more!
By now, we’ve likely got your mind on how you’ll be filling out brackets.
Maybe you’ve already drawn up a couple scenarios of which teams will make it to the Big Dance.
If not, don’t panic! Selection Sunday is when it all begins, when we all learn which teams have made it into the competition. If you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting until your favorite team is called, you’ll definitely want in on the action.
First, let’s take a look at the NCAA schedule:
You’ll note that all the games will air on four channels: CBS, Tru TV, TNT and TBS, of which the latter three come with a cable or satellite TV subscription. It’s the plight of being a sports fan in a cord cutter’s world.
The good news is that you’ll have a variety of ways to catch all the games come tip off.
Next, let’s give you an idea of what’s available.
To get CBS, you could:
Because CBS is a network channel, you could easily buy a digital antenna to pick it up (this is the case for the other network channels as well). The caveat here is that you’ll want to know beforehand whether your home is even close enough to acquire the station’s signals. A good place to start is by entering your address and zip code at AntennaWeb to see how strong the network signals are when you’re at home.
If you aren’t happy with the signal strength, it may be time to look for other options. Like many other channels, CBS has entered the streaming ring with CBS All Access. This choice allows you to stream March Madness games live or on-demand (and will let you catch more than college basketball). The service offers a free seven-day trial and, afterwards, has two plans: one with limited commercials for $5.99 per month and one with no commercials (live TV will include commercials, and select shows will have promotional interruptions) for $9.99 per month. The streaming service also offers an annual plan for each of those options.
Note that these CBS options will cover how you can watch the NCAA basketball championship online.
And, if you’re looking for live TV options with more than just CBS (hint: this will likely be how you can stream March Madness on the other channels, too), then you’ll want to start eyeing your linear over-the-top streaming services, such as Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu with live TV, etc.
Some of these solutions, like DIRECTV NOW and Hulu with live TV, will include network channels, along with the Turner channels on which the March Madness games will be aired. If, however, you already have a digital antenna, you can spring for a streaming package that doesn’t include ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.
Another way you can watch the NCAA tournament online is through the March Madness Live app. Games on CBS can be streamed for free using the app, while those on the other channels will prompt you to enter a TV provider. You’ll find that some streaming services like Hulu can be selected, while others like Sling cannot, so plan accordingly.
Now that you’ve laid out your options as to how you can watch the NCAA tournament online, remember that with any streaming service you’ll want an Internet connection that can hold its own. The last thing you want is to miss that buzzer-beater shot because of buffering.
Do you have the speed you need?
Kinetic by Windstream is not affiliated with any of the products or companies named in this blog post.