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How to Watch College Basketball 2022–2023

We looked at dozens of TV providers to see which are best for watching college basketball and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Editor's choice

Spectrum

Price: $49.99/mo. for 12 mos.

Conference channels: ACCN, BTN, Pac-12 Network, and SEC Network

DVR storage: Up to 35 HD hrs.

Contract: 12 mos.

Best value

Sling TV

Price: $40.00–$55.00/mo.

Conference channels: ACCN, BTN, Pac-12 Network, and SEC Network

DVR storage: 50 hrs. included

Free trial: N/A

Best for cord-cutters

Hulu + Live TV

Price: $69.99–$75.99/mo.

Tournament channels: CBS, CBS Sports Network, TBS, TNT, and truTV

DVR storage: Unlimited

Free trial: N/A

Live CBS Sports

Paramount+

Price: $4.99–$9.99/mo.

Features: Live access to your local CBS station in Premium plan

DVR storage: N/A

Free trial: 7 days

Cheapest

OTA Antenna

Price: $20.00–$60.00 (one-time payment)

Tournament channels: CBS

Features: All local broadcast channels

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

College basketball returns to the court in November for the 2022–2023 season. With a new campaign ahead, you’ll want to ensure you have the right channels to watch your favorite college teams in action.

Spectrum TV® Select with the Sports View add-on is our favorite TV plan for watching Division I basketball. Spectrum has one of the most comprehensive lineups of college basketball channels, including several college conference networks. It also carries every March Madness channel, so you won’t miss out on the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments.

If you prefer streaming on a budget, Sling TV is a great option that offers the best value at a low monthly price. You can mix and match its plans and add-ons to curate a channel lineup that makes the most sense for your viewing habits.

To help you weigh your options, we’ll outline the channels you’ll need to watch college hoops and how our top provider recommendations compare.

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The channels you need to watch college basketball

Watching every minute of college basketball on live TV is an overwhelming feat. But we’ll break it all down for you by separating the regular NCAA basketball season from the NCAA Tournament.

College basketball channels

The channels you need to watch college basketball’s regular season depend on two things: your location and your team. Most casual fans will be happy with CBS Sports, ESPN, and FOX Sports networks. Those are the bread-and-butter sports channels that deliver many marquee college basketball matchups.

Freebie fans can also get a decent amount of NCAA basketball games on local channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. But if you want the most games possible, you’ll want a TV plan—probably cable or satellite—with your preferred conference’s dedicated channel and your regional sports network (RSN).

The best way to determine what channels you’ll need is to visit the schedule on your team’s official website. Most Division I college basketball teams will list the broadcaster(s) for each game on their schedule. From there, you’ll be able to see if you need one of these conference channels or an RSN to get more coverage of your favorite team.

Conference channels:

  • ACC Network
  • Big Ten Network
  • Pac-12 Network
  • SEC Network

Regional sports networks:

  • Altitude Sports
  • AT&T SportsNet
  • Bally Sports
  • MSG Network
  • NBC Sports Regional Networks
  • New England Sports Network (NESN)
  • ROOT SPORTS

College basketball on ESPN+

In recent years, ESPN+ has become one of the prime locations to catch college sports—not just basketball. The streaming service currently has long-term agreements with more than 15 college conferences, including the Big 12, the Ivy League, and the Missouri Valley Conference, so you’ll get hundreds of collegiate basketball games all in one location.

If you want the most college basketball action, ESPN+ should be part of your game plan.

NCAA Tournament channels

You need only four channels to catch every moment of the men’s Big Dance:

  • CBS
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • truTV

If you’re interested in replays, you might also want CBS Sports Network (but you don’t need it). Almost every cable, satellite, and live TV streaming service carries all five of these tournament channels.

The two most important channels, though, are CBS and TBS. Both show a ton of tournament action yearly, and the two networks alternate each year as the exclusive broadcasters of the Final Four and NCAA Championship Game. TBS gets the even years while CBS has the odd ones—meaning CBS will air this season’s final rounds come April 2023.

Besides these channels, you can also catch every live tournament game plus highlights and replays with the NCAA March Madness Live app by logging in with your TV provider.

Pro tip: For women’s March Madness action, you’ll need a different set of channels. Every NCAA women’s basketball tournament game will air nationally across ESPN platforms. The main ESPN channel will air the women’s Final Four and the women’s NCAA championship game.

Best TV providers for college basketball

  • Editor’s choice: Spectrum—TV Select plan ($49.99/mo. for 12 mos.) w/ Sports View add-on ($6.00/mo.)
  • Best value: Sling TV—Sling Blue plan ($40.00/mo.)
  • Cheapest: OTA antenna ($20.00–$60.00 one-time purchase)

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Editor’s choice: Spectrum

Recommended plan:
TV Select ($49.99/mo. for 12 mos.) w/ Sports View ($6.00/mo.)
Tournament channels:
CBS, CBS Sports Network, TBS, TNT, and truTV
Conference channels:
ACCN, BTN, Pac-12 Network, and SEC Network

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pros

  • Access to top conference channels
  • Wide regional sports network availability
  • Many channel add-on options

Cons

  • Smaller channel counts
  • Confusing DVR options

Among cable and satellite providers, we recommend Spectrum’s TV Select package ($49.99 a month) with the Sports View add-on ($6.00 a month). It has over 125 channels, including all five tournament channels and key RSNs. Some cable and satellite providers have similarly priced plans with more total channels—but not those valuable RSNs.

If you’re interested in the conference channels, you’ll want to double-check Spectrum’s channel lineup for your location. Some conference channels are available only in certain areas. You may also need to upgrade with Spectrum’s Entertainment View add-on ($12.00 a month) for an expanded lineup of sports and entertainment channels.

View Spectrum plans

NCAA March Madness Live app

If you already have a cable, satellite, or live TV streaming subscription, you can sign in to the NCAA March Madness Live app with your provider credentials and watch every game in the tournament. It’s a great way to catch live games and highlights while on the go.

If you don’t have a TV provider, you can still take advantage of the app’s free three-hour preview. That’s enough to watch at least one game for nothing.

Best value: Sling TV

Recommended plan:
Sling Blue plan ($40.00/mo.)
Tournament channels:
TBS, TNT, and truTV
Conference channels:
ACCN, BTN, Pac-12 Network, and SEC Network

Data effective as of post date. Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pros

  • Inexpensive pricing
  • Customizable packages
  • No commitment

Cons

  • Limited local channels
  • Low DVR space included

Sling TV offers the best value for watching college basketball because it carries many games for a low monthly cost. Its Sling Blue plan is just $40.00 a month and comes with essential basketball channels like TBS, TNT, and truTV. Those Turner Sports networks are crucial for watching most men’s NCAA Tournament games and many marquee NBA matchups.

You may have noticed from our pros and cons list that Sling TV doesn’t have complete local channel coverage. While FOX and NBC are available to Sling TV users in select markets, you won’t find ABC or CBS in any of the service’s plans. But that’s not the end of the world for sports fans.

Most sports that air live on ABC are also accessible on ESPN3, an ESPN overflow channel available to all Sling Orange and Sling Orange + Blue subscribers. Several Sling TV deals also come with a free HD antenna to ensure you still get every local channel available in your area. That way, it’s still possible to watch this year’s National Championship game on CBS.

Sling TV’s AirTV 2 streaming device.Our favorite Sling TV sign-up offer is the AirTV 2 + HD antenna deal. Usually, those two items cost around $150 together. But this bundle costs only $49 when you prepay for three months of Sling TV service.

The AirTV 2 device is super beneficial for watching sports because it integrates your local antenna channels with the Sling TV guide. That means you can still bounce between CBS and the Turner Sports channels, so you don’t miss a beat during March Madness.

Beyond local channels, you can get even more college basketball coverage with Sling TV’s Sports Extra add-on for as low as $11.00 a month. Its channels vary depending on your base plan, but the add-on grants access to conference channels like Big Ten Network (BTN), Pac-12 Network, SEC Network, and ACC Network (ACCN).

A major benefit of including conference channels in your TV plan is that you can also stream games and extra content through conference apps. Keep scrolling to get the full play-by-play.

View Sling TV plans

Stream ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC basketball

We’ve broken down how you can stream some of the major college basketball conferences. Spoiler alert: you’ll need a TV provider login at the ready or a subscription to ESPN+ to access these Power Five streaming options.

Atlantic Coast Conference: ESPN owns and operates ACC Network (ACCN), which offers 150+ live men’s and women’s college basketball games per year. You can stream ACCN content through the ESPN app using a TV provider login.

Big Ten Conference: Because of the Big Ten and FOX Sports’ partnership, you can stream Big Ten Network (BTN) games using the FOX Sports app. You’ll need a TV provider login to get all the college basketball action, but FOX Sports channels and BTN are widely available in most mid-level TV plans.

Big 12 Conference: Big 12 fans might be surprised to know that you can get a lot of games through Big 12 Now on ESPN+ for $9.99 per month. ESPN+ also has a ton of live college basketball from smaller conferences like the Sun Belt Conference.

Pacific-12 Conference: To stream Pac-12 games, you’ll need to make sure Pac-12 Network is in your TV plan. You can check the network’s TV provider availability on the Pac-12 website. From there, you can download the Pac-12 Now app to watch live games, studio shows, and other programming from the Conference of Champions.

Southeastern Conference: Like the ACC, the SEC’s dedicated channel is operated by ESPN. That means you can stream SEC Network content—including live college basketball games—on the ESPN app. Of course, you’ll need a TV plan that includes SEC Network in order to log in and watch those games.

Cheapest: Over-the-air (OTA) HD TV antenna

Recommended antenna:
Mohu Leaf 50 ($45.99 one-time payment*)
College basketball channels:
ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC
Tournament channels:
CBS
Features:
All local broadcast channels

CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links. Amazon.com Price $45.99 (as of 9/29/22 3:00 p.m. CT). Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Low, one-time price
  • Local coverage

Cons

  • No out-of-market coverage
  • No DVR

If you’re not ready to commit to a monthly TV plan, then an over-the-air (OTA) digital antenna is the next best thing. You’ll be able to catch every college basketball game that airs on your local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliate channels.

An antenna only gives you a small fraction of college basketball games. But it’ll come in handy during the springtime when CBS airs part of the NCAA Tournament. There are also a lot of other leagues that you’ll have access to throughout the year—including the NBA and WNBA.

We recommend the Mohu Leaf 50 antenna for $45.99 on Amazon*—not bad for a one-time purchase—because it can receive TV signals within a 60-mile range. Depending on your location, that should get you the primary local channels needed for college basketball. But you can verify that information by entering your zip code on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Reception Map Tool.

NCAA Tournament on Paramount+

Another cheap way to watch some of the NCAA Tournament is to sign up for Paramount+. Its $9.99 a month Premium plan includes live CBS games, plus CBS Sports HQ coverage and replays from CBS Sports Network.

A one-time TV antenna purchase can give you those same CBS games. But the extra coverage of CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports Network alongside Paramount+’s immense movie and TV library is enough to warrant the monthly price.

How to watch college basketball for free

An OTA digital antenna is one of the easiest ways to get free access to live college basketball games. While the antenna itself will cost money, it’s only a one-time purchase that will benefit you for many seasons to come.

Ranging from $20 to $60, an antenna will give you every local network affiliate within range. Possible channels include ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Because CBS is home to NCAA Tournament matchups, an antenna can be very handy when it comes to watching the men’s side of March Madness.

We recommend the Mohu Leaf 50 ($45.99 on Amazon*) because of its 60-mile range and 4K capabilities.

Another way to watch college basketball without paying is to sign up for a free trial through a live TV streaming service. With careful planning and discipline, you could watch a solid amount of basketball before your trial expires. Just don’t forget to cancel on time, or that plan will ruin the free-ness.

Final take

Almost any cable, satellite, and live TV streaming provider will grant you access to some college basketball games. While tournament games will air on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV, you’ll also need access to conference channels and your RSN to watch regular-season college basketball.

From a cable standpoint, Spectrum’s affordable TV Select plan and add-ons have the most college basketball channels, RSNs, and premium channels to hold you over when basketball isn’t on.

For cord-cutters, Sling TV is a great streaming option with excellent prices, lots of college basketball offerings, and sweet deals (free antenna, anyone?) for new customers.

If saving money is your goal, you’ll still be able to catch some regular season and tournament college basketball games on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC with a one-time purchase of a digital antenna.

How to watch college basketball FAQ

Can I watch March Madness for free?

Yes, you can watch select March Madness games for free on CBS using a digital antenna. You could also try signing up for free trials offered by live TV streaming services like DIRECTV STREAM, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. When the trial runs its course, cancel it—then sign up for another (rinse, repeat). Three or four trials will carry you through the entire Big Dance.

Can I watch women’s March Madness?

Yes, the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament will air on ESPN channels and the ESPN app. The 2022 tournament was notable for extending to 68 teams and featuring the “March Madness” branding for the first time.

Can I watch the NCAA Tournament on Hulu?

Yes, you can watch the NCAA Tournament if you subscribe to Hulu + Live TV. The live TV streaming service carries CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV. But it offers fewer conference channels than Sling TV and costs more per month than any of Sling TV’s plans–even if you also pay for Sling TV’s Sports Extra add-on.

Is there an app to watch March Madness?

Yes, the NCAA March Madness Live app has every tournament game plus replays. But after a free three-hour preview, you’ll need to log in with your cable, satellite, or live TV streaming provider credentials.

Can I stream the NCAA Tournament?

Yes, you can stream the NCAA Tournament by subscribing to a live TV streaming service like DIRECTV STREAM, fuboTV, or Sling TV. You can also use your existing login credentials from a cable, satellite, or live TV streaming provider to stream games via the NCAA March Madness Live app.

Methodology

Our experts spent over 40 hours researching TV providers and testing plans, apps, and other services to determine the best ways to watch college basketball this season. We compared these various viewing options by examining prices, channel lineups, and extra features.

To learn more about our methods, check out our How We Rank page.

Disclaimer

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Amazon.com price as of 9/29/22 3:00 p.m. CT. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

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