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 some 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.
And this is the week that helps determine who’s in and who’s out. Conference tournaments are in full swing. Some teams get automatic bids. Some teams will find themselves on the outside looking in.
Kennesaw State and UNC Asheville already have played their way in. Same goes for Drake, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Southeast Missouri State. Furman and Louisiana are in. And more will earn berths as the week progresses.
That all leads to Selection Sunday on March 12, when the full NCAA Tournament brackets are released. There’s a lot of fanfare in that event, too. It’ll be broadcast live on CBS at 6 p.m. ET.
How to watch March Madness
From there, it’s time to play some basketball. We can’t tell you who’s playing when and on what channel — that again has to wait until the brackets are set. But 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+.
You also can watch via March Madness Live on the NCAA website.
The tournament kicks off March 14-15 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. both days and will be available on TruTV.
From there, the first round takes place March 16-17, with some 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 23-24. The Elite Eight games (eight teams, so four games) are on March 25-26.
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.
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.