You don’t have to be a basketball fan to enjoy March Madness. This is the series of games that defines the college basketball season, and everyone in the country wants to watch them.
The good news for sports fans in Iowa is that it’s easier than ever to watch the action this year.
The Full Details of March Madness
Officially known as the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, this is where the top 68 college basketball teams in the US fight it out. Every game is vital, as a single loss sees that program leave the event while the winner progresses. This adds to the excitement, and the bracket system used means that we can look ahead to work out what our favorite team might have to do to win the trophy.
March 14 and 15 is where it all begins, with the First Four round. These games take place at the University of Dayton in Ohio’s UD Arena. The first games are where the number of teams is brought down to 64. After that, the First Round sees 32 teams exit and the other 32 pass to the Second Round.
We then enter Sweet Sixteen before the Elite Eight and then the Final Four stage. This leads the remaining teams to the championship game where the overall champion will be decided. Those Final Four games will be played at the NRG Stadium in Texas on April 1, with the championship game also taking place there on April 3.
Are There Any Games Taking Place in Iowa?
One of the best things about March Madness is that the First and Second Round games are held in different parts of the country. For fans in Iowa, the dates when they can see a game locally are March 16 and 18. On these dates, Drake University will be hosting games at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, but at the time of writing it hasn’t yet been confirmed which teams will be competing there.
Other venues close to Iowa where games will be hosted include the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. This is where the Midwest Regional games will be played on March 24 and 26. Again, the teams will be confirmed nearer to the date. For those fans eager to see a game further afield, the likes of Kentucky, North Carolina, and Colorado are among the states that will be hosting games.
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What TV Networks Will Be Showing March Madness Games?
As with the regular college basketball season, several networks will be showing the March Madness games. In most parts of Iowa, you can see them by tuning into the local CBS affiliate, ESPN, TNT, TBS, or TruTV. As with the earlier information, the actual games to be shown on each network will be confirmed closer to the dates.
What this means is that it makes sense to choose a package that includes all of the networks you need to watch the games that interest you most. This can be done through your local cable operator or a streaming package. Streaming tends to work out slightly cheaper, but you might need to spend a bit longer working out which package you need to take to avoid missing anything.
A Closer Look at Cable or Satellite TV vs Streaming
You’ve probably heard that a lot of people in Iowa and the rest of the country have cancelled their cable or satellite TV packages to move to a streaming package. There are definitely some advantages to streaming, with the lower cost involved typically the most important reason for choosing it. However, for some people the convenience of cable still makes it the easiest option.
If we turn our attention to streaming services, the Hulu+ package promises to let you see every game from March Madness in both men’s and women’s basketball. They start with Selection Sunday, where the full list of teams is made available, right up to the championship game. Their site gives easy access to the games that interest you, with a recommendation system that lets you find your favorites directly from the home screen.
Streaming services like this also have the advantage of allowing you to easily switch between different devices. In fact, the number of devices they allow is one of the key factors that might help you decide which service to opt for. Check out the list of supported devices and you’ll see the likes of Roku, Xbox, Chromecast, and a range of other options.
We can also see that you can watch March Madness with Sling, who’ll show dozens of games. They also explain how to watch every minute of the tournament with the additional help of Paramount+ and the official app. YouTube TV gives us another option for streaming the games, and they have the channels you need to see all 67 games live.
FuboTv is another way of streaming these games, although you won’t see all the action as they only have CBS from the list of networks covering the NCAA tournament this year. Paramount+ also has CBS, so you can watch the same games using this service. DirecTV Stream has all of the games and is the online streaming part of the DirectTV cable business.
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About the Official App
The official NCAA March Madness Live mobile app from NCAA Digital gives you access to exclusive content where you can try to predict the games and watch expert analysis, among other things. You can also find classic games and catch the live scores here. It’s a useful way of getting all of your March Madness in one place.
To get started, you can watch a three-hour preview for free. After that is over, you need to sign into your TV provider account to carry on viewing. In this way, you can see all 67 games across the different networks on the app. This is completed by behind-the-scenes footage and a team line-up challenge.
A Guide to Streaming March Madness
As we’ve seen, there are various ways of watching the highlights of the college basketball season. If you like the sound of streaming the games but have never done it before then you might wonder how easy it is to get started. It’s not going to be difficult so let’s cover each of the steps needed.
- Make sure that you have a device that you can use for streaming the games on. This can be a smart TV, a laptop, or a smartphone. Some people also use additional devices like Amazon Fire or Roku. Bear in mind issues such as where you want to watch the games and how much flexibility you’d like to have.
- Hook up to your Wi-Fi. Once you have a suitable streaming device you can use it to watch free content such as YouTube videos, but you’ll need to be able to connect it to your home Wi-Fi network if you’re going to watch the games there. If everything is fine, you’re now ready to look for a streaming service.
- As mentioned earlier, there are various services you could choose from. They all have different packages, pricing, and promotions, so it’s worth taking a moment to check them fully. You should also look at how many devices are included to see if this is likely to be an important issue for you.
- The amount of DVR storage space on offer also varies. This is where you can record live TV and watch it later, so it’s extremely useful in the event of wanting to watch all of the games but not having time to watch them live. All of the major streaming services give you a lot of DVR space, but if this is particularly important to you might want to weigh up the options carefully.
- You’ll need to sign up for the service you choose and open a new account. Look for payment methods that suit you and confirm the details of any free trial or offer before proceeding. It doesn’t take long to do this, but it makes sense to do it in plenty of time so you’re ready to settle down and watch the games with no fuss.
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How to Bet on March Madness as You Watch
You might not be aware that it’s possible to bet on March Madness even before the games start. These are known as futures bets and let you wager on sporting events in advance. At the time of writing, the Houston Cougars, the Purdue Boilermakers, and the Alabama Crimson Tide are among the favorites.
From the Iowa college programs taking part, the Iowa State Cyclones are the most likely to win the tournament according to their odds.
The Iowa Hawkeyes program is next on the list, but it would be a big surprise if they were to reach the championship game and win it. The Drake Bulldogs and the Northern Iowa Panthers are rated among the underdogs with very high odds.
If you’re going to be watching the games, then you might prefer to bet on them closer to the time, or even try live betting. This last option is where you place your wagers as the game takes place, so it’s suited to someone who watches the action and weighs up the chances for each team while the odds change to reflect what happens.
No matter how you choose to watch these games, March Madness is a time that has a special place in the hearts of American sports fans’ and it looks like we’ll see another memorable tournament this year.
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