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March Madness college basketball tournament live stream — how to watch online & without cable

March Madness takes place from March 18-April 5, 2021.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

They say every March Madness is bigger and better than the last. That's perhaps never been as true as March Madness 2021. After a year off due to the global pandemic, the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament returns with 64 teams in the main field — 72 if you could the play-in games — set to battle it out in Indiana from March 18 to April 5 to find out who's best in a season that has been anything but normal.

All of the games are being played in a single state to cut down on travel, but the brackets were mostly still built with geography in mind. 

So in a lot of ways, it's business as usual in a year in which it's been anything but. That also goes for how to watch March Madness online. 

Here's everything you need to know going into the tournament.

How to watch March Madness in the United States

Here in the U.S., all of the March Madness games will be broadcast on a smattering of four channels — CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

That gives you a bunch of options to stream March Madness.

One of the best ways to make sure you have access to all four channels is to stream March Madness on FuboTV. (And if you do so, make sure to take advantage of that Fubo free trial.)

FuboTV has the three network channels as well as local CBS affiliates, so you're covered across the board.

Outside of college basketball, FuboTV also has a number of premium add-ons with a particular eye for sports — and these are things you can't really find anywhere else in the U.S. And FuboTV remains one of the only ways to watch the occasional sporting event in (upscaled) 4K resolution.

FuboTV also is available on every major streaming service, including on Roku, on Amazon Fire TV, and on Apple TV, Google TV, Android TV, smart TV platforms, and on the web.

FuboTV starts at $64.99 for 95 channels and 500 hours of cloud-based DVR. You'll be able to watch on three devices at the same time.

Another way a lot of folks will be looking to watch March Madness is with Sling TV. And it's a perfectly fine option, with TBS, TNT and TruTV all available on the Sling Blue plan. 

And that single Sling plan costs just $35 a month — and that's after a free trial.

But, you do need to know this: Sling TV doesn't have local CBS affiliates. So that's a quarter of the first- and second-around games that you won't be able to watch.

How to watch March Madness from anywhere in the world

If you're outside the U.S. and still want to get your basketball on, you've got options! One of the first may well be to employ the use of a good VPN.

A virtual private network takes all of your internet traffic and routes it through a specific set of servers in a specific country. That effectively means your computer is in a country — say, the United States — even if it's physically not quite in the United States.

The only trick here is that you need to make sure you've got a trusted VPN, because all of your network traffic — encrypted and unencrypted as well — is going to be goin through that VPN. (That's how they work!)

We've long been fans of ExpressVPN for those purposes.

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

It's also a great way to make sure you can watch every game of March Madness no matter where you happen to be.View Deal

Roy Delgado is a freelance writer for CordCutters. His focus is streaming, specializing on sports. He binge-streams 32 games over the first two days of NCAA March Madness annually. He built his own DVR 15 years ago, and still tinkers to make his media setup its best. Find him on Twitter [@RoyD77](