March Madness 2021 begins with Selection Sunday on March 14 — here’s how to watch every game without cable


How to watch march madness

Summary List Placement

  • March Madness 2021 will begin with Selection Sunday on March 14 at 6 p.m. ET on CBS. 
  • 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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky+ Live TV (small)TV (small)

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, formally known as the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.

Sixty-eight teams will line up for a single-elimination gauntlet 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.

With the pandemic looming overhead, crowds may not be quite as populous or raucous as is the norm for the springtime event. 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 crew (last year’s tournament was canceled for the first time in its history as the COVID-19 outbreak swelled). 

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 begins with Selection Sunday on March 14 at 6 p.m. ET on CBS. The tournament will then commence with the first four on March 18.

Here’s a breakdown of important March Madness 2021 dates and times, as laid out by the official NCAA March Madness website

Event Date and time  Channels
Selection Sunday

6 p.m. ET on March 14

First Four

4 p.m. ET on March 18

First round (day one) 12 p.m. ET on March 19  CBS, TruTV, TNT, TBS
First round (day two) 12 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

For a full breakdown of each game’s specific airing station and time, check out this handy list

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. 

Paramount Plus

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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Sling Blue

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.

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