College basketball madness returns in March with the annual month-long season finale. March Madness 2021, the notorious single-elimination tournament, will take place between March 18 and April 5. The event will culminate in the crowning of the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball champion. The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will see 68 Division I NCAA teams compete across 7 rounds of single-elimination games. Selection Sunday is scheduled for March 14, 2021.
What channel is March Madness on?
March Madness 2021 is jointly produced by CBS Sports and Turner Sports, the sports division of Warner Media. March Madness live streams will be available online through CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV (depending on the round), while CBS Sports Network will re-air games initially broadcast on other channels. Other sports services will also have rights to some games, as will some of the major conferences’ own networks.
The 2021 March Madness selection show will be broadcast on TBS starting at 6 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 14. During the show, the selection committee will announce all 68 teams that will compete in the tournament and confirm the dates, locations, and tip-off times of all match-ups.
Best live TV streaming services to watch March Madness 2021
March Madness will be available on video streaming services that provide viewers with access to the channels covering the tournament. Live streaming options for March Madness 2021 are as follows:
Hulu + Live TV is available for $64.99/mo. after a 7-day free trial and has 50 hours of Cloud DVR plus 2 simultaneous streams. It includes access to local channels and regional sports networks, plus Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and SEC Network.
fuboTV is $64.99/mo. following a 7-day free trial and offers varying Cloud DVR options alongside two simultaneous streams. Its channel lineup includes some local programming and regional sports networks, as well as Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, FOX Sports 1, Pac-12 Network, and ESPN.
Sling TV packages range from $35 to $50/mo. following a 7-day free trial. It carries some regional sports networks, ACC Network (with add-on sports package), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FOX Sports 1, and SEC Network. Some local channels are available depending on location.
Paramount+, formerly CBS All Access, starts at $5.99/mo. and you can watch all 24 matchups being broadcast by CBS. There is a 7-day free trial when creating a new account.
YouTube TV costs $64.99/mo. after a 7-day free trial and offers unlimited Cloud DVR and 3 simultaneous streams. The provider carries local channels, some regional sports networks, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FOX Sports 1, SEC Network, and Stadium.
Vidgo costs $55/mo. and is one of the most affordable live streaming services to watch March Madness. Fans can tune into matchups on ABC and ESPN.
How to watch NCAA March Madness 2021 with an antenna
Basketball fans can also watch games airing on local channels for this year’s tournament with an antenna. Many of the channels broadcasting the tournament are available for free over the air in regions throughout the United States. Plus, devices like Tablo DVR or HDHomeRun enable viewers to record streaming programming. Discover channels available for free in your area on Antenna Web.
More on the NCAA Tournament
March Madness history
The inaugural March Madness event saw eight teams compete in a tournament in which Oregon defeated Ohio State in the final. The number of competitors doubled to 16 in 1951. The event grew into something resembling the modern format with a 64-team tournament by 1985. An extra berth became available when the Mountain West Conference joined Division I in 2001. And 3 further slots expanded the field to 68 in 2011.
UCLA is the most decorated team in March Madness history with 11 titles, with 10 won during a 12-season spell of dominance between 1964 and 1975. In the following 45 years, only 2 teams have ever defended their title, with Duke claiming success in 1991 and 1992 and Florida doing so in 2006 and 2007. This year, Virginia will be looking to repeat the feat after the university won its maiden title in overtime against Texas Tech 12 months ago.
March Madness 2021 structure
This year 68 teams will take part in March Madness. The 32 Division I Conferences receive a bid that they award to the team that wins their postseason tournament, which becomes their automatic qualifier.
The rest of the bracket is made up of so-called at-large bids, which will be awarded by invitation from the event’s selection committee. This will take place on Selection Sunday, on March 14, after the completion of all regular season and conference tournament games. The committee will choose the additional 36 teams it believes to have the pedigree to compete at the end of season tournament. This takes into consideration a number of statistics and rankings, but there is no set formula for choosing teams that receive an at-large bid.
Once all the participants are confirmed, they are ranked from 1 to 68 based on their regular season and conference tournament performances. Four teams are eliminated in the First Four round, leaving sixty-four teams that are split evenly across four regions and ranked from one to sixteen. That determines the first-round match-ups, in which the top seed in each region faces off against the lowest-ranked opponent, then the next highest and next lowest-seeded teams face each other.
The final cut
Basketball fans need not miss a moment of March Madness 2021 with a wide range of viewing choices. College basketball action will be available through several live streaming services like Hulu + Live TV, fubo TV, Vidgo, Sling TV, and more.