Before the madness begins: How to watch college basketball

David Anders
DA
David Anders
Oct 2, 2019

Did you know more than 350 schools participate in NCAA Division 1 basketball? Between the men’s and women’s programs, that’s a heap of hoops to keep college rivalries alive between NCAA football games. Some of the games won’t make it to TV, but many of them will, especially as we get closer to March Madness.

Depending on which teams, conferences and big games you want to catch, you have a few options for watching college basketball. Here’s how you can tune in to the men’s and women’s 2019-20 NCAA basketball season.

Watching college basketball live on TV

A basic cable subscription will get you a fair amount of NCAA basketball throughout the season, especially one that includes local channels, ESPN and Fox Sports 1. TBS, TNT and truTV — which are also included in most basic cable TV packages — are key channels to have when the tournament comes around, but offer few games during the regular season.

Regional sports networks like Fox Sports Networks and Stadium also broadcast NCAA games, but coverage is typically limited to programs within the region. Additionally, conference-specific channels such as ACC Network, Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Networks also offer college basketball games featuring teams from those conferences.

While some TV providers include regional sports and conference networks with their standard packages, others do not. Depending on the provider, you may need an additional sports package to get regional sports and conference networks for watching college basketball.

Channels for college basketball by conference

ESPN networks, including ESPN and ESPNU, hold rights to broadcast games from basically every conference, from the Atlantic 10 to the West Coast Conference. Other channels may only air games from specific conferences.

The official broadcast schedule has yet to be released, but here’s a list of channels where you can find live men’s and women’s college basketball games (other than on ESPN and regional Fox Sports Networks) and which conferences they have rights to broadcast:

  • ACC Network – ACC
  • beIN Sports – Conference USA
  • Big Ten Network – Big Ten
  • BYUtv – WCC
  • CBS – AAC, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC
  • CBS Sports Network – A10, Big East, MAC, Mountain West, NEC, Patriot League
  • Longhorn Network – Big 12
  • NBC Sports Network – A10
  • Pac-12 Network – Pac-12
  • Root Sports – Big Sky
  • SEC Network – SEC
  • Stadium – A10, AAC, Big South, CAA, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, Patriot League

Many of these channels are available from most TV providers and sports packages. Others, such as Stadium, may only be available in select areas. You can, however, pay a monthly subscription to stream Stadium online, similar to how you’d watch ESPN+ and ESPN3. And if you’d prefer to stream college basketball games anyway, read on for ways to stream men’s and women’s NCAA basketball.

Streaming live college basketball games

If the game you want to watch is airing on TV, you can bet it’s also available to stream.

Most major TV networks with college basketball, including ESPN, Fox Sports Networks, CBS and conference-specific networks, have an app that lets you stream live content on your mobile devices. These networks also typically offer live streaming from their official network websites as well. You’ll likely need login credentials from a TV provider and have the channel you want to stream in your package to watch via an app or online.

Even if the game isn’t being broadcast on TV, you might be able to stream it. OTT channels such as ESPN+ and Stadium will offer live streams of games from a variety of conferences throughout the season — some of which may not be available to watch on TV. You can also stream games at NCAA.com and with the NCAA app, which live-streamed the 2019 March Madness tournament for free.

Top streaming options for watching college basketball

  • AT&T TV Now – includes local channels, regional sports networks, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1, and SEC Network
  • ESPN+ – will livestream select basketball games throughout the season
  • fuboTV – includes local channels, regional sports networks, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 1 and Pac-12 Network (but no ESPN)
  • Hulu + Live TV – includes local channels, regional sports networks, Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network
  • PlayStation Vue – includes local channels, regional sports networks, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Longhorn Network and SEC Network
  • NCAA app – will livestream select basketball games throughout the season and the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament
  • Sling TV – includes regional sports networks, ACC Network (with add-on sports package), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 and SEC Network (but no local channels)
  • Stadium – will livestream select men’s and women’s college basketball games from a variety of smaller NCAA conferences
  • YouTube TV – includes local channels, regional sports networks, ACC Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 and SEC Network

Most streaming services will cost a monthly subscription fee. If you’re looking to stream college basketball games for free, check out NCAA.com. Also, there’s a chance the college team you want to see is streaming the game from their official website or on social media pages.

Are you ready for the 2019-20 NCAA basketball season?

The 2019-20 NCAA season tips off on November 5. To catch the most NCAA men’s and women’s basketball, you’ll need the right TV package, and maybe a reliable internet service if you plan on streaming the games. You can find both with Allconnect®. And for more tips on how to watch college basketball and all your favorite sports, check out our resource center.

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