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March Madness 2019: How to watch NCAA basketball tournament games live – CNET

Zion Williamson of the Duke Blue Devils, seen here during Duke's 2-point win over Virginia Tech on Friday, will play again in the final Elite Eight game on Sunday.

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The 2019 NCAA man's basketball tournament started with 68 teams. Now it's down to just eight.

The Elite Eight teams will meet over the course of Saturday and Sunday to determine who gets to advance to the Final Four in Minneapolis. And good news for your bracket: championship favorite Duke, led by Zion Williamson, the best player in college basketball, is still alive.

After a thrilling 2-point victory over Virginia Tech Friday, Zion's Blue Devils will face off against powerful Michigan State on Sunday. The early game features No. 2 seed Kentucky versus No. 5 Auburn, the lowest seed remaining in the tournament after outrunning top seed North Carolina. 

On Saturday No. 3 Texas Tech, with the best defense in the nation, plays No. 1 Gonzaga, with the best offense. Afterward No. 3 Purdue plays No. 1 Virginia. Want to watch? Here's your guide.

March Madness 2019: How to watch NCAA basketball tournament games live     - CNET

Now playing: Watch this: March Madness 2019: Everything you need to know


When are the March Madness games on?

Just seven games remain in the tournament, with the four Elite Eight matches this weekend. Here's the schedule for the next two days of the tournament:

Saturday, March 30

No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 1 Gonzaga 6:09 p.m. ET TBS
No. 3. Purdue vs. No. 1 Virginia 8:49 p.m. ET TBS

Sunday, March 31

No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 2 Kentucky 2:30 p.m. ET CBS
No. 2. Michigan State vs. No. 1 Duke 5:05 p.m. ET CBS

The winners this weekend will travel down the road to the Final Four in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Final Four semifinal games will be played on Saturday, April 6, followed by the National Championship Game on Monday, April 8.

Which channels are the games on?

The remaining March Madness games will be shown on CBS and TBS. (Editors' note: CNET is a division of CBS.)

How can I watch for free?

Go to the NCAA's March Madness Live site or use its March Madness Live app and you'll be able to watch games for free. As with most things that are free, there is a catch. 

To get full access to every game you'll need to sign in with credentials (username and password) from a pay TV provider, typically your cable, satellite or live TV streaming service. 

If you don't sign in, you'll be limited to only a 3-hour preview, after which point you'll need to log in to continue watching games on TBS. Games on CBS, meanwhile, don't require pay-TV credentials so you can stream all of them for free.

What are my other streaming options?

Cord cutters can use a live-TV streaming service to watch March Madness. In order to watch CBS' coverage, however, you'll need to make sure the service carries your local CBS station. Some streaming services carry all four channels for March Madness, but others will require you to mix and match services, which can save you money but could present a challenge when frantically changing channels to catch a potential buzzer-beater at the end of a close game.

Other stuff to know about live TV streaming services:

  • You'll need a solid internet connection.
  • You can watch any of them on TV as long as your smart TV has the service's app. You can also watch on your TV using a media streamer, including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast.
  • You can also watch on iPhones, Android phonestablets and PC browsers.
  • You can sign up and cancel anytime, no contract required.
  • All of them offer free trial periods, so you can sign up to watch and then cancel.

Disclosure: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.

Streaming services with CBS and TBS

DirecTV Now ($50)

DirecTV Now's cheapest, $50-a-month Plus package includes CBS and TBS. Click here to check availability of live local channels in your area.

See at DirecTV Now

Mix-and-match March Madness options

AT&T WatchTV ($15 or free) + CBS All Access ($6) = $21 or $6

AT&T WatchTV is a relative newcomer to the streaming game. It offers a more limited number of channels compared with its competitors but is much cheaper. It costs $15 a month for most people, but AT&T wireless customers on qualifying plans can get it for free. Among the 35 channels Watch TV offers is TBS. 

Meanwhile, CBS All Access carries live CBS stations in many areas of the country (check the site to see if you're covered) for $6 a month. Combine the two and you can watch all of the tournament games for about half the cost of a more fully featured streaming service above.

Sling Blue ($25) + CBS All Access ($6) = $31

Neither of Sling TV's plans offer CBS, but its $25-a-month Sling Blue plan includes TBS. Pair it with CBS All Access to pick up the games on CBS and you are still paying less than a competing streaming services at $31 a month. Better yet, you can sign up at a discount: Sling Blue is currently $15 a month for the first three months for new subscribers, bringing your March Madness cost down to $21 for the tournament when paired with CBS All Access.

OTA antenna for CBS games = free

Another option for watching games on CBS is to use an antenna to get free, over-the-air TV. You can attach an over-the-air digital antenna to nearly any TV, and solid antennas start as little as $10.

March Madness in 4K

Subscribers to DirecTV's satellite service are in for a treat this month. DirecTV will reportedly broadcast March Madness games from March 19 to 30 in both 4K and HDR. You'll be able to watch only a selection of games in 4K. The 4K broadcast schedule will include games on March 28 and 30 from Anaheim, California.

Competing satellite provider Dish is also broadcasting a selection of games in 4K. You can see its 4K broadcast schedule here, which will include an Elite Eight game or two on March 30.

March Madness 2019: How to watch NCAA basketball tournament games live     - CNET

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Originally published on March 5.
Update, March 30: Adds details for Elite Eight games.

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