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.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
NCAA will live stream all 64 NCAA March Madness games online. (Image: Todd Taulman, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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.

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Here's how you can watch the NCAA March Madness tournament on your phone, Apple TV and more. (Image: NCAA)

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.

March Madness 2018: Streaming schedule

First Four

Tuesday, March 13

(16) LIU-Brooklyn vs. (16) Radford 6:40pm Stream
(11) St. Bonaventure vs. (11) UCLA 9:10pm Stream

Wednesday, March 14

(16) NC Central vs. (16) Texas Southern 6:40pm Stream
(11) Arizona State vs. (11) Syracuse 9:10pm Stream

First Round

Thursday, March 15

(10) Oklahoma vs. (7) Rhode Island 12:15pm Stream
(14) Wright State vs. (3) Tennessee 12:40pm Stream
(13) UNCG vs. (4) Gonzaga 1:30pm Stream
(16) Penn vs. (1) Kansas 2pm Stream
(15) Iona vs. (2) Duke 2:45pm Stream
(11) Loyola-Chicago vs. (6) Miami (Fla.) 3:10pm Stream
(12) South Dakota State vs. (5) Ohio State 4pm Stream
(9) NC State vs. (8) Seton Hall 4:30pm Stream
(16) LIU-Brooklyn/Radford vs. (1) Villanova 6:50pm Stream
(12) Davidson vs. (5) Kentucky 7:10pm Stream
(11) San Diego State vs. (6) Houston 7:20pm Stream
(14) Stephen F. Austin vs. (3) Texas Tech 7:27pm Stream
(9) Alabama vs. (8) Virginia Tech 9:20pm Stream
(13) Buffalo vs. (4) Arizona 9:40pm Stream
(14) Montana vs. (3) Michigan 9:50pm Stream
(11) St. Bonaventure/UCLA vs. (6) Florida 9:57pm Stream

(via NCAA)

March Madness 2018: Multi-game view

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.

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(Image: NCAA)

March Madness: Stream in VR

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 will live stream 21 NCAA March Madness tournament games in VR.

NCAA said it will stream 21 games in virtual reality:

Sweet 16

  • Los Angeles, CA - Thursday, March 22:
    • Matchups and times - TBD
  • Boston, MA - Friday, March 23:
    • Matchups and times - TBD
  • Elite 8

  • Los Angeles, CA - Saturday, March 24:
    • Matchup and time - TBD
  • Boston, MA - Sunday, March 25:
    • Matchup and time - TBD
  • Final Four
  • 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

Streaming services

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.
  • Hulu with Live TV costs $40 per month.
  • 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.

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In 2017, UNC defeated Gonzaga 71 to 65. Who will take the top spot this year?


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