Over the next three weeks and 63 games, the NCAA tournament field will be narrowed down from 64 teams to one champion.
All of the games will be broadcast on either CBS, TNT, TBS or TruTV. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch all of those channels 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 CBS (live in select markets), TBS, TNT and TruTV, making it the best way to watch every NCAA tournament game. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of any 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 an Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch games 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 games live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Games on CBS: Amazon Prime: If you have Amazon Prime or want to start a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, you can watch a live stream of your local CBS channel via the CBS All-Access Amazon Channel, which comes with a 7-day free trial. Once you’re signed up for both Amazon Prime and the CBS channel, you can watch CBS live on your computer via the Amazon website, or on your phone, tablet or other streaming device via the the Amazon Video 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.
Parity is often a theme in college basketball, and there are about a dozen teams who could realistically cut down the nets in San Antonio this year.
The two clear favorites are Virginia and Villanova. Both get it done in different ways, as the turtle-paced Cavaliers are owners of one of the most efficient defenses we’ve seen in years, while the Wildcats, led by juniors Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, are owners of the No. 1 offense in the country. It would be a dream matchup in the national championship, but there are plenty of teams capable of crashing those plans.
Duke, with lottery picks Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter controlling the interior, are first in the country in offensive rebounding percentage and third in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency, and if they defend like they have for most of the past month, they’ll be a tough out.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, they got put in the same Midwest region as Michigan State and Kansas, two more legitimate national title contenders. The Spartans are much like Duke in the fact that have two lottery picks in their frontcourt (Jaren Jackson, Miles Bridges) and are efficient on both sides of the ball, while the Jayhawks are playing as well as anyone in the country after running through the Big 12 tournament with three wins by double-digit points.
The potential matchups of Duke vs Michigan State in the Sweet 16 and then either the Blue Devils or Spartans vs. Kansas in the Elite Eight are both national final-caliber games. Throw in Oklahoma’s sensational freshman Trae Young and SEC regular season co-champs Auburn, and the Midwest is like it’s only little mini tournament.
Over in the West, Xavier (+1500 to win the national title), North Carolina (+1400), Michigan (+1400) and Gonzaga (+1500) are nearly inseparable according to the oddsmakers. Xavier has the senior guard-play you need in March with Trevon Bluiett and JP Macura, North Carolina has the most Quadrant 1 victories in the country and looks dangerous with Theo Pinson playing at another level the last month, Michigan is an elite defensive team that played lights-out offense en route to the Big Ten tournament title, and Gonzaga is the highest-rated KenPom team of all of them. That’s another fascinating region with four potential champs–and both defending national finalists.
Elsewhere, Cincinnati has the defense to make a run. Arizona has the DeAndre Ayton to make a run. Kentucky’s young group of future NBA talent struggled early in the year but is finally clicking at the right time. Purdue struggled down the stretch but has an elite offense that could carry them.
Ultimately, no one can predict how the next three weeks will play out, but one thing is for sure: The road to the Final Four is going to be Madness.