Final Four 2018: When the games start, how to stream and more

Here's the cord-cutter's guide to watching the 2018 Final Four.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
3 min read
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

The field of 68 is down to four. The Final Four, as the NCAA basketball tournament semi-finals are called.

As in past years, this March has not been without its madness. Loyola-Chicago is the Cinderella of this year's dance, advancing to the final weekend of the tournament as a No. 11 seed. The Ramblers will face the Michigan Wolverines, who won the the West Regional as a No. 3 seed. On the other side of the bracket, a pair of No.1 seeds, the Villanova Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks will face off in the other semi-final game.

When are the Final Four games?

The semi-final games will be played on Saturday, March 31, and the national championship game will be played two days later on Monday, April 2. The games will be played in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Here's the schedule:

Saturday, March 31:

  • 6:09 p.m. ET: Loyola-Chicago vs. Michigan
  • 8:49 p.m. ET: Villanova vs. Kansas

Monday, April 2:

  • 9:20 p.m. ET: Winner of Loyola-Chicago/Michigan vs. winner of Villanova/Kansas

Which channel are the games on?

The remaining three games will be broadcast on TBS, but if you are a graduate or huge fan of one of the four remaining schools, however, you can watch a TeamCast, which is an alternative broadcast on TNT or truTV where announcers will call the game in favor of one of the teams.

For the first Final Four game, the Michigan TeamCast will be on TNT and the Loyola-Chicago TeamCast will be on truTV.

In the second game, the Kansas TeamCast will be on TNT and the Villanova TeamCast will be on truTV.

How can I watch for free?

Go to the NCAA's March Madness Live site or use its March Madness Live app and you'll be able to watch games for free. You can watch March Madness Live on iOS and Android devices along with Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV and Xbox One. The app also supports AirPlay and Chromecast.

As with most things that are free, there is a catch. Without proving you are pay-TV subscriber, you get only a three-hour preview, after which point you'll need to log in to continue watching.

I'm logged in. Now what?

If you are a subscriber of a participating TV provider, the you can stream the Final Four games and national championship game on the March Madness Live site or app.

What are my other streaming options?

Cord-cutters can use one of the big five live-TV streaming services to watch March Madness, but you'll need to use a plan or a service that offers TBS (or TNT or truTV if you want to watch a TeamCast). The good news is all five streaming services offer a seven-day trial so you could sign up and watch all three Final Four games for free.

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now's cheapest, $35-a-month Live a Little package includes TBS, TNT and truTV.

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu with Live TV costs $40 a month and includes TBS, TNT and truTV.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue's $40 Access plan includes TBS, TNT and truTV.

Sling TV

Sling TV's $20-a-month Orange plan includes TBS and TNT, and its $25-a-month Blue plan includes TBS, TNT and truTV.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV costs $35 a month and includes TBS, TNT and truTV. It's available in dozens of major metro markets,

Since my bracket has been busted, I'll be tuning in to cheer on the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago along with the team's 98-year-old chaplain, Sister Jean.

Read more: Watching March Madness in a crowded bar? You need this app