How to Watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament 2023
Catch all the thrills of March Madness with CableTV.com’s complete NCAA Tournament viewing guide—including channel listings and tournament schedules.
The NCAA Basketball Tournament is a time to celebrate the season’s best college basketball teams. From March to April, national championships are on the line as the men’s and women’s tournaments take over TV screens nationwide.
You can watch men’s March Madness games on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. Meanwhile, ABC and ESPN networks will televise the women’s tournament.
Keep reading for more details on how to watch the NCAA Tournament—including ways to watch select games for free.
What channels show the NCAA Basketball Tournament?
The men’s 2023 NCAA Tournament will appear on CBS Sports and Turner Sports channels, while women’s March Madness action will air across ESPN platforms.
NCAA Basketball Tournament schedules
Over 130 men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament games occur throughout March and April. Because that’s a lot to monitor, we created a helpful round-by-round channel guide below.
You can also head to the NCAA’s official Men’s Basketball Bracket and Women’s Basketball Bracket for up-to-date stats and scores.
Men’s NCAA Tournament schedule
|Selection Sunday||Sunday, March 12||CBS, Paramount+|
|First Four||Tuesday, March 14||truTV|
|First Round||Thursday, March 16||CBS, Paramount+, TBS, TNT, truTV|
|Second Round||Saturday, March 18||CBS, Paramount+, TBS, TNT, truTV|
|Sweet 16||Thursday, March 23||CBS, Paramount+, TBS|
|Elite Eight||Saturday, March 25||CBS, Paramount+, TBS|
|Final Four||Saturday, April 1||CBS, Paramount+|
|NCAA Championship Game||Monday, April 3||CBS, Paramount+|
Data effective as of post date.
Women’s NCAA Tournament schedule
|Selection Sunday||Sunday, March 12||ESPN|
|First Four||Wednesday, March 15||ESPN2, ESPNU|
|First Round||Friday, March 17||ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU|
|Second Round||Sunday, March 19||ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU|
|Sweet 16||Friday, March 24||ESPN, ESPN2|
|Elite Eight||Sunday, March 26||ESPN|
|Final Four||Friday, March 31||ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN+|
|NCAA Championship Game||Sunday, April 2||ABC, ESPN+|
Data effective as of post date.
Best TV plans for watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament
You can watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament through most TV providers, but Hulu + Live TV offers our favorite March Madness TV plan. Starting at $69.99 a month, you’ll get every channel of the men’s and women’s tournaments. The live TV streaming service also includes ESPN+ at no extra cost and an unlimited cloud DVR.
On its own, ESPN+ ($9.99 a month) is a cheap way to watch parts of the women’s tournament—offering select ABC and ESPN game simulcasts—and the men’s National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Paramount+ is also an inexpensive option for watching the men’s NCAA Tournament. Its $9.99-a-month Premium plan includes live CBS games and additional CBS Sports coverage.
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to tune in, a one-time TV antenna purchase can give you those same ABC and CBS games. But we’ll explain more about that in our free March Madness viewing options section further down.
Which TV providers carry March Madness games?
Many popular TV services carry March Madness channels. But because the men’s competition airs between CBS Sports and Turner Sports networks, some providers show only a fraction of the tournament.
The following table highlights the TV providers that have men’s tournament channels. Apart from Philo, every provider listed below also offers the ESPN networks that show the women’s tournament—though you may need a higher-tiered plan to get ESPNews and ESPNU.
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|Hulu + Live TV||✔||✔||✔||✔||
Read Hulu + Live TV review
Read Optimum review
Read Philo review
Read Sling TV review
Read Spectrum review
Read Vidgo review
Read Xfinity review
Read YouTube TV review
Data effective as of post date.
How to watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament for free
*CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links. Amazon.com Price; $47.99 (as of 3/13/23 9:40 a.m. CT). Read full disclaimer.
During March Madness, you can watch a handful of games for free using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna.
Every women’s game on ABC and men’s game on CBS is available over the air. Though, not everyone lives within range of each channel. You can verify OTA channel availability by entering your zip code into the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Reception Map Tool.
If you need an antenna, most cost anywhere between $20 to $60. We prefer the Mohu Leaf 50 ($47.99 on Amazon*) because its 60-mile range and multidirectional design are ideal for suburban areas. But you can visit our Best Antennas for Cord-Cutters page to check out other antenna options.
The 2023 NCAA Basketball Tournament will air on CBS Sports, Turner Sports, and ESPN channels. Specifically, men’s games are on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV, while women’s games are on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, and ESPNU.
Hulu + Live TV is the best TV provider for watching March Madness because it has every tournament channel and includes ESPN+ for extra college basketball coverage. Sling TV offers a cheaper alternative to watching NCAA basketball, but you’ll need an OTA antenna to watch games that air on ABC and CBS.
Speaking of antennas, you can avoid a monthly TV subscription and watch this season’s national championship games over the air. All you need is an antenna strong enough to pick up your local ABC and CBS stations.
Watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament FAQ
Can I watch March Madness for free?
Yes, you can watch select March Madness games for free using a digital antenna. Some games in the men’s tournament will air on CBS, while ABC will broadcast parts of the women’s tournament. In 2023, the two antenna channels will show the men’s and women’s championship games.
Where can I watch the NCAA Final?
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 info. The app is available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, and Roku devices.
Can you watch March Madness on HBO Max?
Are there fantasy leagues for March Madness?
Yes, many fantasy sports outlets offer bracket challenges during the men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments. ESPN Fantasy Sports, DraftKings, and Yahoo Fantasy Sports are the more popular fantasy platforms, but you can also sign up for different challenges and pick’em games on the NCAA’s website.
Our sports experts spent over eight hours researching and testing the best ways to watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Like the single-elimination tournament, we put TV providers head to head to determine the ideal viewing options. We based our provider recommendations on channel availability, pricing, and ease of use.
Check out our How We Rank page to learn more about our methods.
Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Amazon.com price as of 3/13/23 9:40 a.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.
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