March Madness is just right around the corner, and you are probably raring for some intense college basketball action. But if you don’t have the time to stay in front of the TV for your favorite team’s games, don’t worry. We prepared a list of ways to stream NCAA basketball online and useful tips on how to maximize your viewing experience.
Stream NCAA basketball for free
The great thing about watching March Madness games online is that there are many free streaming sites available. One caveat about these, however, is that they can expose your online activities. The sites often don’t provide any form of traffic protection, making it easy for anyone to track your IP address – which isn’t smart when you’re streaming content which likely isn’t licensed.
Using VPNs is a good way to deal with this issue. They hide your IP address and encrypt your online traffic, making it nearly impossible for trackers to follow you. You can also use the location masking feature to access content that the streamer might not have made available to viewers from certain locations. View our list of the best VPNs for streaming that you can use for this specific purpose, or just click on our two favorites below:
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Now that you know how to protect yourself when watching NCAA basketball and March Madness on free streaming sites, let’s take a look at some of the best ones you can visit.
Stream NCAA basketball on Reddit
While Reddit itself doesn’t stream NCAA games, it’s a good place to start when looking for good streaming sites. There are several subreddits where you can find posted links to NCAA game streams, most notably the r/ncaaBBallStreams subreddit. The posts are a mix of user-submitted links and those collected by bots.
A great thing about Reddit is that you can request stream links. Moderators say that if you can’t find the stream links for a specific game within 45 minutes of the start time, you can create a thread for it. Note that it might take a few hours before you can get your requested links. As a precaution, review the links first before you click on them to be sure they are safe. If you spend enough time looking through several threads you’ll see who posts regularly and is trusted.
If you want to go directly to a free streaming site, Stream2Watch is one of the popular places to visit. The site posts streams from different official sources into one easy-to-use location. You also have the choice of watching live streams or HD streams after the games are over. The site’s listing is comprehensive, and it updates the listing every few hours.
However, like other free streaming sites, Stream2Watch has a lot of ads. A large portion of these are pop-ups that show when you click a link. A good ad blocker will be able to take out most of these ads, but some overlaid ads might still appear. You also need to watch out for the ones that divert you to another page.
Bosscast is another site that gathers streams from different sources. The streams for the day are listed on the homepage, with an icon indicating the tournament. There is a channel selection panel on the left side of the screen which links you to the latest live stream.
The site uses Flash to display the video streams, which could leave you open to the vulnerabilities associated with the format. This includes having your online traffic exposed to trackers incorporated into the plug-in. To protect yourself, update Flash through recommended means before connecting to the site. Also, you can disable the tracking cookies in the plug-in’s main settings.
Unlike most sports streaming sites, Streamsports claims to provide an ad-free viewing experience. As other streaming sites submit the feeds, Streamsports (in turn) will provide detailed information about these feeds, which is a great thing. The details include:
- The type of site (HTTP or Flash)
- The source site
- HD and SD stream links
- The stream’s trust rating
This gives you a good picture of what to expect and help you decide whether to use a link. The links are updated every few hours, and they have a counter telling the time a live stream starts.
One thing to note: not all of Streamsports’ game feeds are available to unregistered viewers. The site will prompt you either to sign up as a member or to download its extension. The first option is the better choice here, but you still need to be careful when signing up. I’d use an anonymous email account, if I was you.
A unique feature of the SportRAR.TV streaming site is that you can set the site’s timezone to your preferred one. This makes it easier to determine the schedule of a specific game. The site also organizes the lists into Live, Upcoming, and Finished sections for a faster search.
The site provides multiple stream links on the game page. Do note that the site opens a new tab or window instead of just directing you to the stream page. Let the tab or window load a little to see if you are indeed heading to the stream page and not to an external site.
Like other free streaming sites, SportRAR.TV displays pop-up ads. As we observed, not all streams have them. This makes things easier to manage, but you should still set up precautions like ad blockers before watching.
Stream NCAA basketball legally
With all of the issues with free sites, you might want to stream NCAA basketball direct from the sources instead. While these streams are indeed safer, they have their own set of issues you have to deal with.
Geo-blocking is the most common problem. Due to licensing issues, the NCAA basketball games are restricted to US-based viewers only. Broadcasters also do regional blackouts that limit viewing only to select local networks. You can go around this problem by using a
For fans who want to watch the tournament on the go, the NCAA has its own March Madness app. The app is available on both iOS and Android, and it live streams all 67 games. You can select which of the main broadcast coverages (CBS, TBS, TNT, or TruTV) to watch.
It also has other features like:
- Game highlights
- Exclusive video-on-demand content
- View the scores and game stats
- Bracket Challenge game
The app gives you a three-hour free preview for the TBS, TNT, and TruTV coverages. After that, you need to log in using your paid cable subscription. The CBS broadcast is entirely free, but it doesn’t show some games.
YouTubeTV is one of the popular paid options for those who want to stream NCAA basketball online. The service carries all major tournament broadcast channels, as well as several dedicated sports channels like:
- FOX Sports
- NBC Sports
These networks give you regular game highlights and may air some of them. ESPNU is of particular note since it is dedicated to college sports.
The service carries a hefty $40 monthly fee, but the number of accessible channels makes up for the price. You can also cancel anytime, which is useful if you just want to watch March Madness. There is even a seven-day free trial available. It’s available only to US residents, and some channels might be region-locked, but you can use the above workarounds to access them.
Popular sports network ESPN has its own live streaming site, WatchESPN, where you can catch March Madness games online. It also provides game replays and highlight videos. There are even radio podcasts for those who don’t have time to watch videos.
If you prefer to go mobile, there are available apps for both iOS and Android.
The site is free to access for users who pre-bundled the service with their Internet plans. However, not all games are available for free viewing due to licensing.
When you access locked contents, you have to use your subscription details to register to the broadcaster that owns the game rights.
NCAA on CBS
Being one of the NCAA’s major broadcast partners, CBS offers its own March Madness streaming through its CBS All Access service. Aside from the streams, the site has a dedicated section where you can view highlights and the schedule. There is also a stats page to follow your favorite teams’ performance.
The basic subscription costs $6 a month and comes with commercials; the commercial-free plan is $10. Both plans come with a seven-day free trial. Note that CBS and Turner take turns airing the Final Four and Championship rounds. This means that you might not be able to watch one game or the other when subscribed to the All Access service.
SlingTV is an online streaming service that’s similar to YouTubeTV. Its main focus is live broadcasts, making it a good option for those who want the games on the go. The service carries a decent amount of sports channels like ESPN, ACC Network Extra, and FS1.
There are two packages available, Blue and Orange, at $25 a month each. While both carry TBS and TNT, only Blue has TruTV. This makes Blue the better option if you want a greater NCAA coverage. You can pay extra to get more channels. There is also a seven-day trial you can take advantage of if you only want to watch the later parts of the tournament, like the Final Four.
Stream NCAA basketball and enjoy March Madness
With all these available options, you can stream NCAA basketball whenever you want and never miss your favorite team’s games. But you should be aware of the issues about these streaming sites like:
- Geo-blocking: Legal sites restrict NCAA streams only to US residents, but free stream sites might also impose their own blocks.
- IP address exposure: Free stream sites are more prone to exposing your online activities to other parties, leaving you vulnerable to security issues.
- Tracking and ads: Whether you are on legal or free stream sites, trackers and ads will follow you and disturb your viewing experience.
VPNs will help you deal with these issues and enjoy March Madness more. Know how to find a good one for your streaming needs and get ready to watch your favorite teams. If you want to go with direct streams which have geo blocking issues, check out these three highly recommended options:
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