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College basketball finals to be shown in VR. Brackets still busted

Hoop fans can opt to go courtside to catch all of the Final Four action in virtual reality.


March Madness is virtually inescapable.

As if there wasn't already enough excitement over the annual college basketball tournament, the organizers at the NCAA will live-stream Saturday's semi-finals and Monday's title game in virtual reality.

The NCAA and its broadcast partners are using Samsung Gear VR, a headset that seats Samsung phones, to present the 180-degree courtside stream. Hoops fans will need to download the NCAA March Madness Live app in the Oculus Store to get the software needed to watch the stream. Oculus, which just launched the Rift headset, is owned by Facebook.

The live-stream is the latest indication of the impact virtual reality may have in our everyday world. In October, NextVR, a VR content developer, partnered with the NBA and Turner Sports to live stream the Golden State Warriors taking on the New Orleans Pelicans, the first professional sports game shown live in VR. Boxing and Nascar racing have all since received the VR treatment, and pro teams like baseball's San Francisco Giants are poised to create VR videos for their fans.

Earlier this month, Fox Sports and NextVR aired seven games of the Big East basketball tournament in virtual reality.

"We're very close to seeing a number of high-profile sporting events shown in VR," NextVR Executive Chairman Brad Allen said during the Big East tourney earlier this month. "This is just the beginning."

The VR stream of the Final Four games in Houston will include a virtual scoreboard with live stats, as well as commentary from the crew calling the game airing on TBS. CBS, the parent company of CNET, is also one of the broadcast partners for the NCAA tournament.

Sadly, it's unlikely to do anything for your busted bracket.