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We've often said that the toughest thing about cutting the cord is replacing live sports. The cable giants still have control of most sports broadcasts, and assembling a full slate of sports coverage without turning to cable could end up costing you as much as a cable subscription would in the first place! But that doesn't meant that there aren't smart, frugal ways to keep up with your sports as a cord cutter. And one of the great things about cutting the cord is getting your content a la carte — which, in this case, would mean paying only for the sports and leagues that you actually want to watch.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream NCAA basketball:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$54.99 – $86.96 100+ 7 days

See Offer

$30 – $70 50+ 3 days

See Offer

With that in mind, we've put together a series of guides showing you how to watch games, recaps, and coverage for your favorite college and professional sports leagues. We've already covered the NBA, college football, and more. This time around, we're showing you how to tune in to college basketball. Here's how to watch college basketball online or over the air, no cable required!

What channels have college basketball?

To watch live college basketball without cable, we'll need to access channels that have college basketball online or over the air. But which channels are we talking about? There are a ton of channels that carry at least one college basketball game every season, so let's run through a list of some of the big ones you'll want to target as a college basketball fan.

  • ABC – ABC has lots of college basketball. It focuses on Big 12 home games.
  • CBS – Home to some of college basketball's biggest games (including the biggest March Madness games), CBS is an absolute must-have for any college basketball fan.
  • ESPN – Like its fellow Disney-owned channel ABC, ESPN has plenty of college basketball. ESPN's coverage includes games from a bunch of top conferences. You can also catch games on sister channels like ESPN 2 and ESPN U, as well as on ESPN's direct-to-consumer streaming app, ESPN+ (more on that later).
  • Fox – Like fellow major networks ABC and CBS, Fox offers some big-time college basketball games — though Fox often bumps its coverage to its sports network, which is up next on our list.
  • FS1 – Fox's sports network is a must-have for fans of college ball. So is its sister network FS2.
  • NBCSN – Though you won't typically find college basketball on NBC, you will sometimes see games on NBC's sports network, NBCN.
  • Conference networks – Many major college basketball conferences have their own dedicated channels. If the big game isn't on ESPN or CBS, you might want to check out ACC Network, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, or whatever other conference network is appropriate. There are also some team-specific networks like Longhorn Network (University of Texas).
  • Regional sports networks (RSNs) – RSNs are sports-focused networks that are only available in a limited region. They're the sort of channels your favorite basketball and baseball teams play on — you know, channels like NESN, MSG, Fox Sports Midwest, and so on. Some of these networks show college basketball games featuring local teams and/or conferences.
  • Stadium – This sports-focused network is your home for mid-major conferences like the A1o, Ivy League, and MAC.
  • TBS, TNT, and TruTV – These channels don't typically show college basketball games, but they become very important during March Madness. By the way, have you read our guide on how to watch March Madness without cable?

Let's find ways to watch these channels without cable!

How to watch college basketball online or over the air

Watching college basketball means finding ways to watch TV channels live without cable. There are a few ways to do that. First and foremost, there are live TV streaming services. Often called “skinny bundles,” these cable-like streaming services collect a bundle of live channels for your streaming pleasure. They're typically smaller (or “skinnier”) than the cable or satellite bundles you may be used to, and they're also typically cheaper. We'll list those services first, and then we'll move on to cover some other methods for watching college basketball without cable, including free over-the-air (OTA) TV.

Stream NCAA basketball for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu's skinny bundle service is a great choice for college basketball fans. ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox, FS1, NBCSN, TBS, TNT, and TruTV are all on board here, as are some regional and conference-specific networks, such as SEC Network. You can test out Hulu + Live TV for free by signing up for the service's free trial offer using the link in this section.

Stream NCAA basketball for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV bills itself as the sports-focused skinny bundle. The truth is a bit more complicated: fuboTV lacks ESPN, a pretty huge problem for any sports-focused bundle, but it does offer a boatload of other sports channels. fuboTV's channel lineup includes CBS, Fox, FS1, NBCSN, Stadium, TBS, TNT, and TruTV, plus some regional and conference-specific networks. You can check out fuboTV by clicking the link in this section and signing up for the service's free trial offer.

Stream NCAA basketball with Sling TV

Try It

Sling TV lacks the major networks (including ABC, CBS, and Fox), but it has a lot of the other channels we're looking for: You can get ESPN, FS1, NBCSN, Stadium, TBS, TNT, TruTV, and a decent selection of regional and conference-specific networks. If you're also using an over-the-air antenna, the combination of Sling TV and OTA can give you pretty comprehensive college basketball coverage for a very low price.

AT&T TV Now

AT&T's skinny bundle service, AT&T TV Now, is a solid way to watch college basketball online. This live TV streaming service includes live streams of ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox, FS1, NBCSN, TBS, TNT, and TruTV. It has a decent selection of conference-specific networks (including SEC Network), and it has a decent set of RSNs on offer, too.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is Google's version of the skinny bundle. It's an excellent choice, because it includes ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox, FS1, NBCSN, TBS, TNT, and TruTV. It has RSNs and conference-specific networks, too.

Free over-the-air TV

OTA TV is one of the most under-utilized options in the cord-cutting universe. With nothing more than an antenna and a TV, you could be watching local channels for free! Though it depends a bit on where you live, those local channels are likely to include local affiliates of the major networks. Since ABC, CBS, and Fox all air college basketball games, this means that free OTA TV is one of your best options for watching college basketball free without cable.

CBS All Access

CBS All Access is a streaming service from — you guessed it — CBS. CBS fans can stream content on-demand through this service, but the best part is that CBS offers live streams of local CBS affiliates. The catch? That live stream isn't available in all markets, and some broadcasts may be blacked out. In most areas, though, CBS All Access is a solid option for securing a live stream of college basketball on CBS. You can test the service out for yourself by clicking the link in this section and signing up for the free trial offer.

Stream NCAA basketball on ESPN+

Try It

Disney's sports streaming service, ESPN+, is not a live streaming feed of the flagship ESPN channel. Instead, it's a standalone offering full of live and on-demand sports content. You can count on some college basketball games to turn up here, though you shouldn't necessarily assume that they'll be the biggest match-ups.

NCAA March Madness Live

CBS, TruTV, and the rest of the March Madness providers offer all of their broadcasts free online to those who already pay for a TV service like cable, satellite, or a skinny bundle. Even non-subscribers can watch a limited amount for free on this app, though! If you save your free viewing time for a big game and combine this with OTA TV, you could watch a lot for free. And if you have a skinny bundle subscription, you could use this app to watch as much as you want!

Can I watch college basketball on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

There are a lot of great ways to watch NCAA basketball online. But can you use your Roku, Fire TV, or other streaming device to do it! It will depend a bit on your device, but the answer is, for the most part, yes!

Roku users have a lot of options. They can stream college basketball using Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV all offer apps for Amazon's Fire TV platform.

If you use Apple TV, your options are Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Chromecast works well with Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV.

Android TV users can access Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

You can also watch on the go! Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV each have apps for both iOS and Android mobile devices.

Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, and YouTube TV all have in-browser and/or desktop apps for PC and Mac computers.

Even video game systems are in on the fun. Xbox One owners can stream college basketball on Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. PlayStation 4 owners can use Hulu + Live TV.

What about our other methods? Well, CBS All Access works on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, computers, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. ESPN+ offers apps for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, computers, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

That's a lot of ways to watch college basketball without cable!

One thought on “The Cord Cutter’s Guide to Streaming NCAA Basketball

  1. Avatar Marvin Baer says:

    Kodi has been blowing smoke & BS for a long time – particularly relative to March Madness. I’m in Portugal, an old man, password sharing – means what? Tonite I was watching ESN talk basketball for about 2 hours waiting for one of the Final four games – nothing! My school is playing in the Final Four – where can I watch a game & then the finals if they should win today. Thanks for any help.

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