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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.

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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.

Men’s tournament channels:

  • CBS
  • CBS Sports Network (replays only)
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • truTV

Women’s tournament channels:

Pro tip: You can watch every live tournament game, plus highlights and replays, with the NCAA March Madness Live app by logging in with your TV provider.

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

Event Start date Channels
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

Event Start date Channels
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.

Pro tip: Sling TV offers the cheapest way to get TBS, TNT, and truTV through its Sling Blue plan for $40.00 a month. While you won’t get CBS, a digital antenna or Paramount+ subscription can fill the gap for complete coverage of the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

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.

Provider CBS TBS TNT truTV Details
Cox View plans

Read Cox review
DIRECTV View plans

Read DIRECTV review
DIRECTV STREAM View plans

Read DIRECTV STREAM review
DISH View plans

Read DISH review
fuboTV View plans

Read fuboTV review
Hulu + Live TV View plans

Read Hulu + Live TV review
Optimum View plans

Read Optimum review
Philo View plans

Read Philo review
Sling TV View plans

Read Sling TV review
Spectrum View plans

Read Spectrum review
Vidgo View plans

Read Vidgo review
Xfinity View plans

Read Xfinity review
YouTube TV View plans

Read YouTube TV review

Data effective as of post date.

Don’t miss out on the madness

Not sure which TV providers are available in your area? Enter your zip code to find out.

Please enter a valid zip code.

How to watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament for free

Get free local channels
Recommended antenna:
Mohu Leaf 50 ($47.99 one-time purchase*)
Tournament channels:
ABC and CBS
Features:
All local broadcast channels

*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.

Final take

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?

CBS and TBS alternate annually as the exclusive broadcasters of the men’s 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. The Women’s National Championship Game will air on ABC in 2023.

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?

No, HBO Max won’t stream any parts of the NCAA Tournament in 2023. While the streaming service recently teamed up with TNT to stream live sports, it won’t factor into this year’s March Madness broadcasting plan.

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.

Methodology

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.

Disclaimer

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.

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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