How To Watch March Madness Without Cable

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Did you fill out a bracket for March Madness this year? You’ll get the most enjoyment out of the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament by following all of the drama in real time!

But if you’ve recently cut the cord from your cable company, you may be wondering about the cheapest way to enjoy all of the live action.

Don’t fret — Team Clark has you covered.

You will have a few options that are almost certainly cheaper than crawling back to the cable company. Let’s walk through them.


What Channels Do You Need To Watch March Madness in 2023?

Let’s start by identifying the four channels you’ll need for access to all 67 games, which begin with the First Four broadcasts on Tuesday, March 14 and end with the Final Four national championship game on Monday, April 3.

The 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be broadcast on these four channels:

  • CBS
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • truTV

You can gain access to these channels in a variety of ways. The most popular way to get all four in one spot is going to be a live TV streaming service.

Here’s a look at which of these channels each live TV streaming service offers:

Live TV Streaming ServiceCBSTBSTNTtruTV
YouTube TVYesYesYesYes
Hulu + Live TVYesYesYesYes
DIRECTV STREAMYesYesYesYes
Sling TVYes (in select markets)Yes (Sling Blue)Yes (Sling Blue)Yes (Sling Blue)
fuboTVYesNoNoNo
VidgoNoNoNoNo
PhiloNoNoNoNo
Frndly TVNoNoNoNo

As you can see in the chart above, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM offer all four of the desired channels with their base subscriptions.

YouTube TV is the cheapest of those three, and Team Clark considers it the best overall live TV streaming service. It offers both a free trial and a discounted monthly rate for new customers.

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3 Cheap Ways to Watch the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Without Cable

Alright cord cutters, here are your free and “best value” options for consuming March Madness.

1. Use an Antenna To Watch CBS

For those of you who don’t need to see every single game of this tournament, this free option might be the simplest answer.

You can simply use a digital antenna to get the over-the-air broadcast of your local CBS affiliate. This will get you the broadcast of the Final Four, as well as some of the top games throughout the tournament at no charge. You’ll likely find a crisp HD picture if you’re within close proximity to your station’s tower.

This strategy does not get you complete access to the tournament, however. You will miss out on the games that are broadcasted on TBS, TNT and truTV.

2. Try a Free Trial or Discount for a Live TV Streaming Service

If you’re open to putting your credit card on file with a live TV streaming service, there may be a free trial option that could land you access to most of the big games at no charge.

For example, YouTube TV has a 14-day free trial for new customers. If you timed this right, you could catch the first four or five rounds of games.

If you’ve already used up the free trial options, you may still be able to get a discount for your first month as a new customer with some live TV streaming services.

For example, Sling TV is offering half-off the first month of a subscription for new customers. One discounted month could get your through the entire tournament. (Note: Not all Sling TV customers will get access to their local CBS affiliate through the service.)

Remember, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV STREAM are the three livestreaming services that offer all four channels necessary to stream the tournament with their cheapest packages for all customers.

3. Try Paramount+ for CBS Access

Paramount+ is a popular video-on-demand streaming service, but it also has some limited live TV elements.

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One of those is a live stream of your local CBS affiliate with select subscriptions. So, you could pay for one month of Paramount+ to stream your local CBS channel.

If you’re a first-time subscriber with Paramount+, there may be a free trial available to you.

As mentioned with the antenna option above, this will not get you access to every game in the tournament. You will miss games that are broadcast on TNT, TBS and truTV.


Which Live Streaming TV Services Have truTV?

Out of the four channels you’ll need for watching March Madness, truTV is probably the hardest for streamers to locate.

Here’s a breakdown of the streaming TV services that offer truTV, as well as the package you may need to get it:

Live TV Streaming ServiceDoes It Carry truTV?
YouTube TVYes
Hulu + Live TVYes
Sling TVYes, with Blue package.
DIRECTV STREAMYes
fuboTVNo
VidgoNo
PhiloNo
Frndly TVNo

2023 NCAA Tournament Bracket and Schedule

2023 NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket
2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket via NCAA.com

The 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14 with First Four games in Dayton, Ohio. These four games will reduce the field from 68 teams to the traditional 64-team bracket.

The First Round, which narrows the field from 64 to 32 teams, will be played on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. That will be followed by the Second Round on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19.

The Sweet 16 will be played on Thursday, March 23 and Friday, March 24. Next comes the Elite 8 on Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26.

The Final Four, which will be played in Houston, Texas this season, will be played from Saturday, April 1 until Monday, April 3.

You can view the television assignments for the First Round game below, courtesy of the NCAA:

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Thursday, March 16 (All times Eastern)

No. 9 West Virginia vs. No. 8 Maryland | 12:15 p.m. | CBS
No. 13 Furman vs. No. 4 Virginia | 12:40 p.m. | truTV
No. 10 Utah St. vs. No. 7 Missouri |1:40 p.m. | TNT
No. 16 Howard vs. No. 1 Kansas | 2 p.m. | TBS
No. 16 Texas A&M CC vs. No. 1 Alabama | 2:45 p.m. | CBS
No. 12 College of Charleston vs. No. 5 San Diego St. | 3:10 p.m. | truTV
No. 15 Princeton vs. No. 2 Arizona | 4:10 p.m. | TNT
No. 9 Illinois vs. No. 8 Arkansas | 4:30 p.m. | TBS
No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 8 Iowa | 6:50 p.m. | TNT
No. 12 Oral Roberts vs. No. 5 Duke | 7:10 p.m. | CBS
No. 15 Colgate vs. No. 2 Texas | 7:25 p.m. | TBS
No. 10 Boise St. vs. No. 7 Northwestern | 7:35 p.m. | truTV
No. 16 Northern Kentucky vs. No. 1 Houston | 9:20 p.m. | TNT
No. 13 Louisiana vs. No. 4 Tennessee | 9:40 p.m. | CBS
No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 7 Texas A&M | 9:55 p.m. | TBS
No. 15 UNC Asheville vs. No. 2 UCLA | 10:05 p.m. | truTV

Friday, March 17 (All times Eastern)

No. 10 USC vs. No. 7 Michigan State | 12:15 p.m. |CBS
No. 14 Kennesaw St. vs. No. 3 Xavier | 12:40 p.m. | truTV
No. 14 UC Santa Barbra vs. No. 3 Baylor | 1:30 p.m. | TNT
No. 12 VCU vs. No. 5 Saint Mary’s | 2 p.m. | TBS
No. 15 Vermont vs. No. 2 Marquette| 2:45 p.m. | CBS
No. 11 Pitt vs. No. 6 Iowa State | 3:10 p.m. | truTV
No. 11 NC State vs. No. 6 Creighton| 4 p.m. | TNT
No. 13 Iona vs. No. 4 UConn | 4:30 p.m. | TBS
No. 16 Texas Southern/Fairleigh Dickinson vs. No. 1 Purdue| 6:50 p.m. | TNT
No. 11 Providence vs. No. 6 Kentucky | 7:10 p.m. | CBS
No. 12 Drake vs. No. 5 Miami | 7:25 p.m | TBS
No. 14 Grand Canyon vs. No. 3 Gonzaga| 7:35 p.m. | truTV
No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 8 Memphis | 9:20 p.m.| TNT
No. 14 Montana St. vs. No. 3 Kansas St. | 9:40 p.m. | CBS
No. 13 Kent State vs. No. 4 Indiana | 9:55 p.m. | TBS
No. 11 Arizona St/Nevada vs. No. 6 TCU | 10:05 p.m. | truTV

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