March Madness: How to watch 2018 NCAA men's tournament games without cable
If you don't have cable, you can still stream for free all 67 NCAA tournament games through the iPhone, Android phones, web, tablet, and set-top boxes (including Apple TV and more). Here's how to watch online -- plus, all the March Madness Live dates and schedules you need to know.
The 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, college basketball's big dance otherwise known as March Madness, officially started its first round of tournament games on March 15. March Madness lasts an incredible 15 days.
We've already seen several tournament upsets, including No. 16 seed UMBC defeating a No. 1 seed Virginia. Hopefully your bracket isn't busted as we've reached the Sweet 16.
If you're a cord cutter without a cable subscription and want to watch the men's NCAA tournament games online for free, don't fear, there are plenty of live-streaming options available to you.
March Madness 2018: How to live-stream for free
This year, the NCAA will live-stream in real time all 67 March Madness games including Kansas vs Seton Hall on its March Madness Live product across 16 platforms. Score! Just search your device's respective app store for the March Madness Live app.
Now, if you could just nail those bracket picks.
The platforms include iOS devices, Apple TV, Android phones and tablets, Amazon Echo devices, Amazon Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, Roku, and Xbox One. Also supported are mobile web, desktop web, AirPlay, and Chromecast.
Like past years, NCAA March Madness Live will have a three-hour temporary preview period, giving users access to live game streaming before a cable login is required. This creates a problem for cord cutters without access to a cable login.
For every first round of games, NCAA March Madness Live will include Fast Break -- live streaming, whip-around news coverage. The platform also has real-time highlights, stats, and a live blog that provides additional commentary. Will San Diego be able to take down Portland State?
March Madness Live will begin for the Selection Show broadcast at 6pm EST on March 11.
For the first time, NCAA will allow fans to stream three games at once through the March Madness Live app for Apple TV. This is the first time NCAA has provided a multi-game NCAA men's tournament viewing experience similar to the one found on NFL's Sunday Ticket.
NCAA said it partnered with Turner's iStreamPlanet to provide NCAA March Madness Live's live-streaming infrastructure with 60fps video streaming across Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Xbox. The multi-game view feature is especially useful to stream your favorite team and potential opponents across the bracket.
College basketball fans will be able to stream select NCAA Tournament games in virtual reality, including the championship game. NCAA will make its VR live streaming experience available through the NCAA March Madness Live VR app, powered by Intel True VR. The VR app is available on Oculus Store and Google Play.
NCAA said it will stream 21 games in virtual reality:
Los Angeles, CA - Thursday, March 22:
Matchups and times - TBD
Boston, MA - Friday, March 23:
Matchups and times - TBD
Los Angeles, CA - Saturday, March 24:
Matchup and time - TBD
Boston, MA - Sunday, March 25:
Matchup and time - TBD
San Antonio, TX - Saturday, March 31st:
National Semifinal #1 at 6:09pm EST - teams TBD
National Semifinal #2 at 8:49pm EST - teams TBD
National Championship Game
San Antonio, TX - Monday, April 2
Tip at 9:20pm EST. - teams TBD
Unfortunately, virtual reality streaming for the NCAA tournament isn't free. NCAA is offering viewers ability to purchase a "VR ticket" for $2.99 per game, or pay $19.99 to live stream all 21 of the games available in VR.
With VR, NCAA says:
Fans will be able to feel like they are sitting courtside with their favorite team, via fully-produced VR coverage incorporating multiple courtside cameras, sounds from inside the arena and dedicated game commentary.
March Madness 2018: Tips for cable subscribers
If you're a cable subscriber, you can catch all the March Madness games live on TBS, TNT, CBS (disclosure: our parent company), and truTV's digital platforms and of course, your set-top box.
Cable TV provider websites and apps will also live stream the men's basketball games. You can download the apps on the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices.
March Madness 2018: Other streaming options
If you don't have a cable subscription and your three-hour March Madness Live streaming preview is run out, you can use a month-to-month live TV streaming service to access March Madness games and watch your favorite teams. NCAA division I game streaming availability may depend on your area.
These popular live streaming services have 7-day free trials and include CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV, via CNET:
DirecTV Now offers a $35 per month Live a Little package.
PlayStation Vue's all access plan runs $40 per month.
YouTube TV costs $35 per month, but its availability is limited.
Sling TV costs $25 per month including TBS, TNT, and truTV. To stream games hosted on CBS with this route, you could use CBS All Access for $6 per month.
You'll need to research availability in your area and what makes sense for the price.
As our sister site CNET suggests, if you're going to watch the game at a bar, you should download the free Tunity app on your iPhone or iPad. Once you've downloaded the app and signed up for an account, you can point Tunity at a TV, scan it, and a few seconds later the app will play the channel's audio. You can wear headphones or stream the NCAA tournament games through your phone's speaker.
It's worth noting Tunity's audio is roughly a half second off, but it shouldn't matter much for sports commentary over the games. The app also requires location services to be enabled.