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- March Madness 2021 will begin with the First Four on March 18 at 5:10 p.m. ET.
- Games will be spread across CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV through cable and live streaming services.
- To get access to every channel through a single app, we recommend Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV.
March is upon us, and you know what that means. The sports community – and the sports betting community – are gearing up for this year’s edition of March Madness, the annual NCAA basketball tournament.
The NCAA has created two safe sites for this years men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with 68 men’s teams playing in Indianapolis, Indiana, and 64 women’s teams playing in San Antonio, Texas. The single-elimination tournament will be held over a three-week span to determine which college has the top squad, and which fight song will play as colorful confetti rains down and the champs cut down the nets.
Last year’s tournament was canceled for the first time in NCAA history as the COVID-19 outbreak swelled. With the pandemic still looming, Indiana will limit the normally raucous crowds to 25% of their normal capacity. That said, millions will no doubt be watching remotely with baited breath to see which team will capture the first title since Virginia’s 2019 win.
Wondering how to get your eyeballs on all these high-stakes contests without a cable subscription? Look no further.
March Madness 2021 dates and times
March Madness 2021 began with Selection Sunday determining the tournament bracket on March 14. The tournament will commence with the First Four on March 18 starting at 5:10 p.m. ET. Below you can find a chart of the key dates and times for 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, as laid out by the official NCAA March Madness website.
For a full breakdown of each game’s specific airing station and time, check out this handy list.
6 p.m. ET on March 14
5:10 p.m. ET on March 18
|First round (day one)||12:15 p.m. ET on March 19||CBS, TruTV, TNT, TBS|
|First round (day two)||12:15 p.m. ET on March 20||CBS, TruTV, TNT, TBS|
|Second round (day one)||12 p.m. ET on March 21||CBS, TruTV, TNT, TBS|
|Second round (day two)||12 p.m. ET on March 22||CBS, TruTV, TNT, TBS|
|Sweet 16 (day one)||2 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET on March 27||CBS (afternoon), TBS (primetime)|
|Sweet 16 (day two)||1 p.m and 7 p.m. ET on March 28||CBS (afternoon), TBS (primetime)|
|Elite Eight (day one)||7 p.m. ET on March 29||CBS|
|Elite Eight (day two)||6 p.m. ET on March 30||TBS|
|Final Four||5 p.m. ET on April 3||CBS|
|NCAA Championship Game||9 p.m. ET on April 5||CBS|
The 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament will begin on March 21, with the Women’s Final Four planned for April 2, and the Women’s National Championship Game scheduled for April 4.
How to watch March Madness 2021
The easiest way to watch March Madness 2021 – which you likely have already figured out if you’ve got the credentials – is to use the March Madness Live website or streaming app, and sign in with a supported cable or satellite provider. From there, you can stream every game in the whole enchilada.
If you’re reading this article, however, you’re probably saying to yourself, “But I don’t have cable. That’s why I’m here.” Right! Well, there are other ways to watch, so fear not.
Games are being spread across CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV, and there are several streaming services that include one or more of those channels. If you want a single service with access to all four March Madness networks, Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV will be your best bet. Each service costs $65 a month.
If you just want access to some of the channels, we’ve broken additional details on streaming options for each network below.
How to watch the CBS games without cable
As a network station, there are many ways to stream CBS if you don’t already have a cable or satellite package.
One of the cheapest ways to get live CBS streaming access is via Paramount Plus. The service offers some exclusive on-demand content in addition to live streaming for plans starting at just $6 a month. You can find more information about Paramount Plus in our full guide here.
Live streaming services with CBS
For people who want a larger assortment of channels to go along with CBS, live streaming services like Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, Youtube TV, and FuboTV all have you covered. Crucially, Sling does not offer CBS, so don’t go that route.
How to watch the Turner games without cable
Since TBS, TNT, and TruTV are all Turner networks, they all fall under the same subscription umbrellas. Unfortunately, their availability doesn’t overlap perfectly with CBS, which would have made this guide a little bit simpler and shorter. Alas!
Youtube TV includes all the Turner networks and CBS, which makes it pretty enticing, but it does run $65 a month. You can get two weeks free up front if you’re new, and you get three simultaneous streams.
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu also offers live streaming with all four networks included. It costs $65 a month, though you can plop down an extra $7 a month to get a bundle with Disney Plus and ESPN+ as well. You can get a week free to start, and you get to watch on two devices at once.
You’ll get CBS and the Turner networks with the “base” tier of AT&T TV, called “Entertainment,” though it does run $70 a month. You can watch on three devices at the same time, but there does not appear to be any sort of available free trial.
Sling has two basic packages: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. The Blue plan offers all three Turner networks, but Orange is missing TruTV. Blue will run you $35 a month, and you can watch three simultaneous streams. A three-day free trial won’t get you the whole tournament, but you could watch a solid slate of games that way. Remember, though: no CBS with Sling.