The first four of 67 NCAA tournament games get underway on Tuesday and Wednesday, as LIU Brooklyn, Radford, St. Bonaventure, UCLA, Texas Southern, NC Central, Syracuse and Arizona State look book a spot in the Field of 64.
As has become the norm the last couple of years, all the games will be broadcast on TruTV. If you don’t have cable or the channel, or you can’t get to a TV, you can watch every game of the “First Four” round live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including TruTV. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the games on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
Sling TV: TruTV is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package, as well as the “Sling Orange” plus “Comedy Extra” bundle. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of either, and you can then watch the games live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
DirecTV Now: TruTV is included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay one month. Once signed up, you can watch the games live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Note: You can also watch the games on your computer via the March Madness Live website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the March Madness Live app. To watch this stream, you’ll have a free preview before needing to sign in to a TV provider to keep watching, but you can do this by signing in with your Hulu credentials.
It’s easy to say these play-in games don’t really matter in the larger scope of the NCAA tournament, but in each of the seven tournaments since the “First Four” was introduced, at least one participant has ultimately advanced past the Round of 64, with VCU (2011 Final Four), La Salle (2013 Sweet 16) and Tennessee (2014 Sweet 16) all winning multiple games.
When it comes to the 11 seeds in Dayton this year, there are plenty of candidates to advance with an upset or two.
The first of these play-in games features UCLA vs. St. Bonaventure. The Bruins ended the season with three losses in their last five games, but that’s slightly misleading as two were close games on the road, and the third was an overtime defeat against a very good Arizona team in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals. They have one of the better offenses in the country, and with Aaron Holiday running the show at point guard, they have a player who can take over any game. But don’t overlook the Bonnies, who were on a 13-game winning streak before a loss to Davidson in the A-10 tourney. They can shoot the lights out, and they have their own elite guard in Jaylen Adams.
Holiday vs. Adams is going to be worth the price of admission alone, and whoever wins that one is going to cause some problems for Florida.
In the second 11 vs. 11 matchup in Dayton, it’s Arizona State vs Syracuse. The Sun Devils really fell apart in Pac-12 play, but if they can get back to an early-season form that saw them beat both Kansas and Xavier, they’re obviously really dangerous. March success is about transcendent guard play, and Bobby Hurley has three really good ones in Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Remy Martin. As for Syracuse, they have their own elite scoring trio in Tyus Battle, Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett, while the defense is one of the most efficient in the nation.
The winner of that one will get a date with TCU, who lost two in a row to end the year.