March Madness 2024: How to Watch, Livestream the Sweet 16 Friday Without Cable – CNET


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March Madness 2024 had its share of upsets in the first round, with underdogs like No. 14 Oakland, No. 13 Yale and No. 11 Oregon advancing, but in the second round those three, along with most other surprise winners, were eliminated. 

Thursday the tournament moved to the Sweet 16 stage and upsets were back in force. In the West Region, No. 6 Clemson took down No. 2 Arizona in the first game of the night, while No. 4 Alabama knocked off No. 1 North Carolina to set up a 6-vs.-4 Elite Eight battle on Saturday. In the East Region, No. 1 seed UConn dominated No. 5 San Diego State, while No. 3 Illinois held off No. 2 Iowa State to advance. 

Tonight will bring our last batch of Sweet 16 games, with four matchups on the docket. First up is No. 11 NC State, the last double-digit seed remaining in the tourney, taking on No. 2 Marquette in the South Region. Tip-off for this game is called for 7:09 p.m. ET on CBS. 

Here’s everything you need to know for this year’s March Madness, from the Sweet 16 to the Final Four and the National Championship game. The short of it is you need only two apps costing $22 per month combined to stream every game of the tournament: Max (with Ads) and Paramount Plus with Showtime.

Read More: Women’s March Madness 2024: How to Watch Caitlin Clark Today and Every Tournament Game

NC State players celebrate a basket in the 2024 March Madness tournament.

The No. 11 NC State Wolfpack, the lowest seed remaining in the Men’s NCAA tournament, will look for an upset in tonight’s Sweet 16 game against No. 2 Marquette.

Justin Berl/NCAA Photos/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

How can I watch or stream March Madness?

As in past years, the tournament will be shown across four channels: CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. The time has come again to find TruTV on your dial.

You can watch these channels with a cable subscription or a live TV streaming service, but the most affordable option is signing up for a pair of streaming services for a month: Max and Paramount Plus with Showtime. If you have the cheaper Paramount Plus Essential plan, you won’t be able to watch March Madness unless you step up to the pricier option. 

For just $22, you can watch every March Madness game live. With the cheaper, ad-supported $10-a-month Max streaming service, you can watch the games broadcast on TBS, TNT and TruTV. With the $12-per-month Paramount Plus with Showtime plan, you’ll be able to watch the CBS games. 

You’ll have to juggle between both apps but this is the cheapest way to catch all the action. 

Max/Warner Bros. Discovery

Max costs $10 per month and will show March Madness games on TBS, TNT or TruTV. If you’re determined to sign up for only one streaming service to watch the tournament, Max is the clear choice. Not only will it show more early-round games across the three Turner-owned networks, but it will also show both Final Four games and the national championship game that will be broadcast on TBS.

Live sports on Max will soon require the $10-per-month B/R Sports add-on, but you won’t need to shell out for it to watch this year’s March Madness games. Warner Bros. Discovery is delaying charging customers for the add-on option until sometime after the tournament.

Read our Max review.

Save over 40% with Max annual plans. Limited time only.

You’ll need the premium Paramount Plus with Showtime plan to livestream the March Madness games broadcast on CBS. It costs $12 per month, which is double the price of the non-Showtime plan. For this year’s tournament, CBS will show games from the first round through the Elite Eight. 

Read our Paramount Plus review.

Which devices can I use to watch March Madness?

You’ll find an app for each service to watch on an iPhone or Android phone as well as an iPad, Android tablet or Amazon Fire tablet. Max and Paramount Plus are also available on mainstream streaming platforms including Roku, Apple TV, Android TV/Google TV and Fire TV, as well as smart televisions from major manufacturers LG, Samsung and Vizio. Both services are also accessible through Xbox and PlayStation game consoles.

For more specifics, check out the full list of supported devices for Max and Paramount Plus.

Can I stream March Madness for free?

Go to the NCAA’s March Madness Live site or use its March Madness Live app and you’ll be able to watch games for free. You can watch March Madness Live on iOS and Android devices along with Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV and Xbox. The app also supports AirPlay and Chromecast.

As with most things that are free, there’s a catch. Without proving you’re a pay TV subscriber, you get only a three-hour preview, after which point you’ll need to log in to continue watching.

What is the March Madness schedule for the Sweet 16? 

Here is the schedule for this weekend’s remaining second-round games (all times ET).

Friday, March 29

  • No. 11 NC State vs. No. 2 Marquette, 7:09 p.m. on CBS
  • No. 5 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Purdue, 7:39 p.m. on TBS/TruTV
  • No. 4 Duke vs. No. 1 Houston, 9:39 p.m. on CBS
  • No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 2 Tennessee 10:09 p.m. on TBS/TruTV

Saturday, March 30

  • No. 3 Illinois vs. No. 1 UConn, 6:09 p.m. on TBS
  • No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama, 8:49 p.m. on TBS

What is the March Madness tournament schedule?

Here’s the remaining schedule, round by round:

  • Sweet 16: March 28 and 29
  • Elite Eight: March 30 to 31
  • Final Four: Saturday, April 6
  • NCAA championship game: Monday, April 8

What does the March Madness bracket look like?

You can check out the official bracket to see all the matchups and attempt to identify potential upsets and which teams will make it to the Final Four.

Which are the top teams in college basketball this year?

Looking for help in filling out your bracket? I can offer no such assistance for a single-elimination tournament as wild and unpredictable as March Madness. 

What I can tell you is that online wagering site FanDuel currently lists defending champion UConn as the favorite, followed by Houston and Purdue. In the next tier are Arizona, North Carolina and Tennessee. Rounding out the top 10 betting favorites are Auburn, Creighton, Marquette and Iowa State.

What’s the best live TV streaming service for March Madness?

Three of the five live TV streaming services offer the four channels needed to watch every tournament game but keep in mind that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries CBS in your area. 

We recommend YouTube TV to college basketball fans for its relatively low monthly charge and multi-view capability that lets you watch multiple games at once. It’s also one of the three services that offer all four of the channels needed to watch every game. At $73 per month, it’s significantly pricier than getting Max and Paramount Plus with Showtime. 

Sling TV lacks CBS but is a good, low-cost option if you don’t need to watch every game of the tournament but want to be sure you can watch the Final Four and national championship game. At $40 per month, it costs nearly twice as much as it would to sign up for a month of Max and Paramount Plus with Showtime which would let you watch every game.

Hulu with Live TV and DirecTV Stream have every channel needed as well, but both are pricier than YouTube TV and lack features like multi-view. Fubo offers multi-view but doesn’t offer the Turner networks (TNT, TBS and TruTV), making it a poor choice for March Madness.

Sarah Tew/CNET

YouTube TV costs $73 per month and includes CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see if CBS is available in your area. 

Not only is YouTube TV the cheapest live TV streaming service that offers all four channels for March Madness, but it’s also the only service that offers multi-view so you can watch four games at once. If there’s one sporting event that cries out for multi-view, it’s March Madness, especially the first two rounds when so many games are being played at the same time.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $70 per month and includes CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. On its live news page, you can enter your ZIP code after clicking the “View channels in your area” link to see which local channels you get.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

Directv stream

Sling

Sling TV’s $40-per-month Blue plan includes TBS, TNT and TruTV. Sling TV is a great option if you don’t need to watch every early round game because it will show games from each round of the tournament, including both Final Four games and the national championship game. 

Read our Sling TV review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live TV streaming services guide.


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