Eleven days after winning the earlier-than-normal Big Ten tournament championship, No. 3 seed Michigan begins its NCAA tournament campaign with a West regional matchup against No. 14 Montana at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita on Thursday night.
The game is scheduled to start around 9:50 p.m. ET (about 25 minutes after the conclusion of Houston vs. San Diego State, which starts at 7:20 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast nationally on TBS. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game, as well as other NCAA tournament games, live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including TBS, TNT, TruTV and CBS. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: TBS, TNT and TruTV are each 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 game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: TBS, TNT, and TruTV are all included in the “Sling Blue” channel package, while TBS and TNT are also included in the “Sling Orange” package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of either, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Note: You can also watch any tournament game 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 these streams, you’ll have a free preview before needing to sign in to a TV provider to keep watching, but if you don’t have cable, you can do this by logging in with your Hulu credentials. DirecTV Now and Sling TV aren’t on the list of TV providers, though.
It’s easy to forget because the Big Ten tournament was a week earlier than normal, but the last time the Wolverines were on the court, they were playing like one of the best teams in the country. After needing overtime to get past Iowa in their opening Big Ten tournament game, they proceeded to run rampant through Nebraska, Michigan State and Purdue by a combined 39 points.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more impressive performance than the Wolverines beating MSU and Purdue, who are both ranked inside the Top 6 nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings, by 11 and nine points on back-to-back nights. Already an elite defensive team, John Beilein’s team flashed its elite offensive potential in those games, scoring 1.12 points per possession against Michigan State (the fifth highest against the Spartans all season) and 1.17 against Purdue (third highest against the Boilermakers this season).
It was about as comprehensive as it gets, and if the Spartans play anything like they did in Madison Square Garden, they have Final Four potential.
Montana, who are the top 14 seed in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings at 71st in the country, present an interesting matchup. They have the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year in junior guard Michael Oguine, they have a dynamic scorer in Ahmaad Rorie, and perhaps most importantly, they have 6-foot-8 junior transfer Jamar Akoh, who draws 6.2 fouls per 40 minutes, which is one of the best marks in the country. If he can get Moe Wagner into some early foul trouble, it could completely change the landscape of the game.
Ultimately, though, Michigan are 11.5-point favorites, and as long as they aren’t too rusty, they should have no problem moving on to the second round.