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How To Watch March Madness Round 1: Schedule And Matchups

Round 1 tips off on Thursday, March 21.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Credit: Adam Cairns / USA TODAY NETWORK

This post was written in partnership with Sling TV.

March Madness – the NCAA Division 1 College Basketball Tournament – is almost here. The men’s and women’s tournaments officially tipped off with Selection Sunday on March 17, 2024. After the First Four games decide the final bracket on March 19–21, the quest for this year’s NCAA title will take off in earnest on March 21 with the 32-game gauntlet that is the first round of March Madness.

The first and second rounds of men’s March Madness will play out in cities across the country – from Brooklyn, New York, to Spokane, Washington. The women’s games will be hosted by the higher seeds. But, even if the tournament isn’t coming to a town near you, you’ve got plenty of ways to watch March Madness in 2024.

Where to watch March Madness Round 1

March Madness Round 1 will air on several channels this year, including TBS, TNT, truTV, and CBS. The women’s tournament will air on ESPN’s networks and ABC. You can watch games on several live TV streaming services, as you’ll see in the table below:

Sling TVDIRECTV STREAMFuboHulu + Live TVYouTube TVMaxParamount PlusESPN Plus
*Local channels only available in select markets

Watch on Sling TV (Featured Partner)

Sling TV offers one of the most budget-friendly options for keeping up with the best in live sports, including March Madness. It offers three main plans, ranging from $40 to $55 per month. If men’s March Madness is your top priority, you can keep up with most of the action on Sling Blue, which includes TBS, TNT, and truTV for only $40 per month. Sling Orange, meanwhile, is a great choice for the women’s tournament, with ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3.

Unfortunately, no Sling plan carries CBS or regional sports networks (RSNs), but you can find plenty of other sports content on the platform. You can combine the two plans in Sling Orange & Blue for $55 per month. From there, Sling’s Sports Extra add-on can add more than 10 other sports channels to your package for $11–$15 per month. There’s no Sling free trial, but you can often get half off your first month.


DIRECTV STREAM is one of three streaming services that will carry all the March Madness action this spring. To watch every game, you’ll only need to subscribe to the Entertainment plan for $79.99 a month. That package includes TBS, TNT, truTV, ESPN, ABC, and CBS, along with more sports on ESPN2 and Fox Sports 1 (FS1). 

For even more live sports, we recommend the Choice plan. For $108.99 a month, you’ll get more than 15 major sports networks, including your RSNs. DIRECTV STREAM also offers two top-tier plans, which feature even more sports and premium channels, for $119.99 to $164.99 a month. You can try any DIRECTV STREAM plan for free for five days, and all include unlimited DVR storage.

Watch on Fubo

Fubo is often our top choice for live sports streaming, but it falls a bit short for watching March Madness. The only men’s tournament games you’ll be able to see on Fubo are those showing on CBS, as Fubo doesn’t carry any Turner networks. You can keep up with all the women’s action on ESPN and ABC, however. 

Overall, Fubo offers more live sports than any other platform. The basic Pro plan includes more than 30 sports channels, including RSNs and some of the top national networks like ESPN2, FS1, NFL Network, beIN Sports, Big Ten Network, and more. For only $79.99 plus a regional sports fee of up to $14.99, this is one of the best values in sports streaming. There’s plenty more sports and entertainment programming available with upgrades and add-ons, and all plans come with 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage. You can try Fubo for free for up to seven days.

Watch on Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV is another platform that will give you access to every March Madness game — but it offers much more than that. Plans start at $76.99 a month and include over 90 channels, including more than a dozen sports networks. Plus, you’ll also have full access to ESPN Plus and Disney Plus, for one of the most expansive packages of live TV and on-demand entertainment available.

Even though it doesn’t carry many RSNs, Hulu + Live TV is a great choice for national and international live sports and big events like the NCAA Tournament. You’ll get plenty of action on channels like ESPN, ABC, CBS,  FS1, NFL Network, SEC Network, TBS, TNT, and truTV, plus a huge selection of live and on-demand sports content on ESPN Plus. All Hulu + Live TV plans come with unlimited cloud DVR. Unfortunately, there’s no free trial.

Watch on YouTube TV

YouTube TV is the third live TV streaming platform that offers complete coverage of March Madness, and it’s a great choice if you want a top-tier channel lineup. The base plan starts at $72.99 a month, and you’ll have more than 110 of the top sports, news, and entertainment channels, plus unlimited cloud DVR.

For live sports, YouTube TV has almost everything except for RSNs. You can catch some of the top national and international events on channels like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, TBS, TNT, TruTV, ABC, CBS, FS1, NFL Network, SEC Network, NBA TV, and more. YouTube TV also offers a wide range of sports add-ons, from extra networks to full-league packages like NFL Sunday Ticket or NBA League Pass. You can try it for free for up to two weeks.

Watch on Max

Max is new to the sports streaming wars, and it offers the ideal mix for college basketball fans who want to watch the men’s NCAA tournament without spending a pretty penny. The B/R Sports Add-On includes some of the top live action from TBS, TNT, and truTV, including March Madness.

With access to Turner Sports, you also get top games from the NHL, MLB, NBA, and U.S. Soccer. This add-on is currently free for all Max subscribers, but it will soon cost an extra $9.99 a month.

Watch on Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus offers a way for NCAA basketball fans to watch any CBS March Madness games. You’ll need the Paramount Plus with SHOWTIME plan, which includes access to your local CBS station, SHOWTIME originals, and ad-free on-demand viewing for $11.99 a month.

Paramount Plus is also a great choice for more live sports besides March Madness. The platform features top soccer games from UEFA Champions League, CONCACAF Gold Gup, the National Women’s Soccer League, and more. You’ll also find The Masters golf and Big Ten football. You can try it free for seven days.

Watch on ESPN Plus

ESPN Plus offers another budget-friendly way to watch March Madness, in this case, on the women’s side. This over-the-top platform will feature many of the women’s games, exclusive coverage, and replays. 

Plans start at $10.99 a month, and you’ll get far more than just March Madness on ESPN Plus. This platform is home to many out-of-market NHL and MLB games, European soccer, UFC fighting, and tons of college sports. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to subscribe to a separate live TV platform (or bundle with Hulu + Live TV) to watch other ESPN channels like ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU.

March Madness Men’s First Four & Round 1 schedule 2024

Wednesday, March 20 — First Four

(16) Sacred Heart vs. (16) Presbyterian | 7 p.m. | ESPNU
(12) Vanderbilt vs. (12) Columbia | 9 p.m. | ESPNU

Thursday, March 21 — First Four

(11) Auburn vs. (11) Arizona | 7 p.m. | ESPN2
(16) Holy Cross vs. (16) UT Martin | 9 p.m. | ESPN2

Friday, March 22 — First round

(8) North Carolina vs. (9) Michigan State | 11:30 a.m. | ESPN2
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Maine | Noon | ESPN
(6) Louisville vs. (11) Middle Tennessee | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(1) South Carolina vs. Sacred Heart/Presbyterian | 2 p.m. | ESPN
(7) Duke vs. (10) Richmond | 2:30 p.m. | ESPNews
(1) Texas vs. (16) Drexel | 3 p.m. | ESPNU
(4) Virginia Tech vs. (13) Marshall | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(3) LSU vs. (14) Rice | 4 p.m. | ESPN
(4) Kansas State vs. (13) Portland | 4:30 p.m. | ESPNews
(8) Alabama vs. (9) Florida State | 5:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(5) Baylor vs. (12) Vanderbilt/Columbia | 6 p.m. | ESPNU
(5) Colorado vs. (12) Drake | 7 p.m. | ESPNews
(7) Iowa State vs. (10) Maryland | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(3) Oregon State vs. (14) Eastern Washington | 8 p.m. | ESPNU
(2) Stanford vs. (15) Norfolk State | 10 p.m. | ESPN2
(6) Nebraska vs. (11) Texas A&M | 10:30 p.m. | ESPNU

Saturday, March 23 — First round

(6) Tennessee vs. (11) Green Bay | Noon | ESPN
(3) UConn vs. (14) Jackson State | 1 p.m. | ABC
(4) Indiana vs. (13) Fairfield | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(8) Kansas vs. (9) Michigan | 2 p.m. | ESPNews
(2) Notre Dame vs. (15) Kent State | 2:15 p.m. | ESPN
(3) NC State vs. (14) Chattanooga | 2:30 p.m. | ESPNU
(1) Iowa vs. (16) Holy Cross/UT Martin | 3 p.m. | ABC
(6) Syracuse vs. (11) Auburn/Arizona | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(5) Oklahoma vs. (12) FGCU | 4 p.m. | ESPNews
(1) Southern California vs. (16) A&M-Corpus Christi | 4:30 p.m. | ESPN
(7) Ole Miss vs. (10) Marquette | 4:45 p.m. | ESPNU
(8) West Virginia vs. (9) Princeton | 5:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(7) Creighton vs. (10) UNLV | 7 p.m. | ESPNews
(4) Gonzaga vs. (13) UC Irvine | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(2) UCLA vs. (15) California Baptist | 9:30 p.m. | ESPN2
(5) Utah vs. (12) South Dakota State | 10 p.m. | ESPNU

*all times in E.T

You can also view the live bracket here.


How many games are played in March Madness Round 1?

A total of 32 basketball games are played in March Madness Round 1 for both tournaments. That doesn’t include the First Four play-in games, which are excluded from most brackets. 

When is March Madness Round 1?

March Madness Round 1 of the men’s tournament will take place over two days, starting on Thursday, March 21, and concluding on Friday, March 22. March Madness Round 1 of the women’s tournament also will be played over two days, Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23.

Is March Madness streaming on Paramount Plus?

You can watch any March Madness games that air on CBS with a Paramount Plus with SHOWTIME subscription. This package costs $11.99 a month and includes access to your local CBS station. You can try it free for seven days.

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