How to Watch March Madness 2017 Without Cable
Spring is in the air and college basketball is everywhere. Yes, that’s right, March Madness is finally here! Over the next two weeks, millions of Americans will watch dozens of teams square off in one of the greatest sporting events of our time. However, if you’ve decided to kill the cable bill and cut the cord, you might be feeling a little left out of all the hype.
Also check out our Cordcutter’s Guide to Watching College Basketball Online and OTA?
In these modern times money often means more than love of the game, so naturally cable companies and sports organizations often like to black out big events to anyone that doesn’t have cable; and
March Madness is no different.
The vast majority of March Madness will air on cable television; but luckily for us, and unfortunately for Big Cable, you don’t have to miss out on all the action. While cable executives may try to keep you from streaming every game in one convenient location, there are still plenty of ways to watch March Madness without cable and today I’ll tell you how.
Let’s get started…
What Channel is March Madness On?
The first thing we want to know is WHERE the games will air. After all, you can’t watch March Madness online if you don’t know what channel it comes on. Now there are only two companies that have the right to broadcast March Madness this year and they are CBS and Turner Broadcasting.
Obviously, the games on CBS can be accessed by using an Over-the-Air Antenna; no surprise there. However, the games aired by Turner broadcasting will go on three different networks: TBS, TNT, and TruTV. In years past this would be an issue. But with the help feirce competition in the market, cordcutters now have options.
March Madness Schedule
Now that we know the WHERE and the HOW, let’s talk about WHEN the games will air. Of course, we cannot know the individual times and match-ups for rounds that have not already started, but we can get a clearer picture of the when by looking at the NCAA’s March Madness schedule for each remaining round; which not only has the dates for each round, but also what station will air each round.
RELATED: Print the official 2017 March Madness bracket here
March Madness 2017 Schedule
As the the actual starts to fill in you can track which channels each game will air on here. What you really need to know for now is that once the action starts there will be non stop games for several weeks.
The first four games from March 14 – 15 will be all on truTV. Then when we move into the first round March 16 – 17 there will be an even split of games on CBS, TruTV, TNT, and TBS.
Then in the second round you will notice that a lot more games are on CBS, and TNT, with only a few on the other channels; lasting March 18 – 19.
During the Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) on March 23 – 26 we only see games on CBS and TNT. Finally on April 1st things get really exciting as move into the National Semifinals. For these games and the National Championship on April 3rd, everything airs on CBS.
* Times are in the PM and EST.
(Games) First 4
- New Orleans vs. Mt. St. Mary’s, 6:40, truTV
- Wake Forest vs. Kansas State vs. 9:10, truTV
- C. Central vs. UC Davis, 6:40, truTV
- Providence vs. USC, 9:10, truTV
(Games) 1st Round
- Notre Dame vs. Princeton, 12:15, CBS
- Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington, 12:40, truTV
- Butler vs. Winthrop, 1:30, TNT
- Gonzaga vs. South Dakota St., 2:00, TBS
- West Virginia vs. Bucknell, 2:45, CBS
- Florida vs. E. Tennessee St., 3:10, truTV
- Minnesota vs. Middle Tenn St., 4:00, TNT
- Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt, 4:30, TBS
- Maryland vs. Xavier, 6:50, TNT
- Villanova vs. Mt. St Mary’s/New Orleans, 7:10, CBS
- Mary’s (CA) vs. VCU, 7:20, TBS
- Purdue vs. Vermont, 7:27, TBS
- Florida State vs. Florida Gulf Coast, 9:20, TNT
- Wisconsin vs. Virginia Tech, 9:40, CBS
- Arizona vs. North Dakota, 9:50, TBS
- Iowa State vs. Nevada, 9:57, truTV
- Michigan vs. Oklahoma State, 12:15, CBS
- Baylor vs. New Mexico State, 12:40, truTV
- Arkansas vs. Seton Hall, 1:30, TNT
- Oregon vs. Iona, 2:00, TBS
- Louisville vs. Jacksonville St., 3:10, CBS
- SMU vs. Providence/USC, 3:10, TNT
- North Carolina vs. Texas Southern, 4:00, TNT
- Creighton vs. Rhode Island, 4:30, TBS
- Kansas vs. NC-Central/UC Davis, 6:50, TNT
- Dayton vs. Wichita State, 7:10, CBS
- Duke vs. Troy, 7:20, TBS
- Cincinnati vs. Kansas St./Wake Forest, 7:27, truTV
- Miami (FL) vs. Michigan State, 9:20, TNT
- Kentucky vs. N. Kentucky, 9:40, CBS
- South Carolina vs. Marquette, 9:50, TBS
- UCLA vs. Kent State, 9:57, truTV
As each round gets ready to kick off, there will be more information about the specific times and match-ups; and when that information is released, I’ll be there to help you out. Until then, let us finally turn our focus to HOW we can watch March Madness.
Can I Watch March Madness Online?
Before we get into all the different options, lets start with the easiest answer: The March Madness Live website allows you to stream every game for free. Awesome right? Only trick will be to figure out which game you want to watch, and when.
To watch the March Madness games on CBS, you can take advantage of free March Madness streaming at CBSSports.com or use the official CBS Sports app. You can also use an over-the-air antenna (OTA) to pick up the CBS broadcast signal and watch it on the big screen in HD.
If you use an antenna, I would recommend using a Mohu antenna. Mohu bases their antenna’s off of military design and is capable of delivering 1080p HD picture in less than ideal circumstances. You can get their cheapest antenna, the Leaf, for around $40.
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Considering the thousands of hours of entertainment that your new antenna will give you even AFTER the tournament is over, it’s hard not to get one regardless of March Madness.
Best Way to Watch March Madness Online
Watch March Madness 2017 with Sling TV
To watch the March Madness games aired by Turner broadcasting, all you need is the online streaming service Sling TV. For $20 a month Sling TV offers over a dozen live television channels to stream; no contracts or additional fees required. Unlike the free version above, this gets true HD quality. So if you are like me and love the big screen, this is a must have.
Normally with Sling’s default package, you would be able to get TBS and TNT. But during March Madness, Sling TV is running a special “preview” that gives you access to truTV for free. That means you won’t have to purchase any extra add-ons to get complete March Madness coverage. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me (Sling TV Free Trial Link).
Sling TV DVR
To make things even better, Sling TV now offers a DVR on Fire TV (Sling TV Cloud DVR Press Release). So no more missing your favorite match-up, or wasting time watching commercials.
Click here for a complete review of Sling TV.
So there you have it; even though Big Cable would like to keep March Madness away from the eyes of cord cutters, there is once again a way around their malicious machinations. Sometimes being a cord cutter can be a little more complicated than it would be if you had cable, but the payoff for a little hassle is well worth it.
After all, would you rather pay $1200 to get locked into a yearly contract with the likes of Comcast or would you rather do a little research and save thousands of dollars? I don’t know about you, but to me, the choice is clear.
Note: Can also get most of the channels on PS Vue, but at a slightly higher price point.
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