How to Watch March Madness Online, Without a TV, for Free, and Legally

Maybe you can't do all of those at once, but if you're a cord-cutter or a cord-never or you're stuck at work and want to watch the 2013 NCAA basketball tournament online, you're not totally out of options.

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So maybe you're a cord-cutter or a cord-never or you're just stuck at work and you seriously want to watch the NCAA tournament this week to see your perfect office-pool bracket beat Nate Silver's predictions. You're not totally out of options, it turns out. There are a ton of legal and not-so-legal routes you can take to consume as much college basketball as humanly possible. You don't deserve to be left out, so we've broken each of your options by levels of legality — and then included some other options for people on the go.

The Really Legal Way

The good news is that the CBS/Turner cabal of channels are once again streaming every game for free over at their March Madness Live website, complete with a sponsored "Social Arena" for second-screen stuff. Starting with Tuesday night's play-in games, every March Madness tournament game will stream in near real-time over there — if you live in the U.S. — with the CBS games available free for all, while the Turner games require cable authentication. So, if you don't already pay for a cable package at home, you'd better find a friend with a login or you're out of luck when it comes to at least 38 of a possible 67 games this month. Argh, Turner! Also: argh, IT department — 34 percent of office tech professionals said in a recent survey that they were preparing to block the official streams as a way to cut down on company bandwidth use. Hopefully your boss is a big NCAA fan.

The Questionably Legal Way

Say you have a tablet or just a laptop, but no cable TV at home. And the March Madness streaming site is down, or blocked. You could always opt to use an Internet TV service like Aereo, even though it's pretty much universally reviled by the major network channels you'd be using it to watch. They're all suing to shut Barry Diller's streaming baby down.

The Legal Way to Avoid CBS

Meanwhile, ESPN continues to shout for attention from the sidelines because they can't broadcast any of the games. Instead, they're hosting a party at Bill Simmons' house. The Grantland chief will stream a live viewing party from his living room with Grantland personalities Jalen Rose and Rembert Browne providing commentary before, after, and occasionally during the games. So, technically CBS will be playing on a TV in the background starting on Thursday, but you'll be tuning in via their Grantland Live page (which doesn't exist yet but should be live within the next 24 hours) to watch these guys kick it and watch some ball. It's like having really knowledgable friends to watch the games with, except on the Internet.

The Super Illegal Way

So maybe the CBS streams are down, you don't want to pay for Aereo, you don't live in the U.S., and you are OK with maybe doing something a little more drastic. Maybe you're not afraid of breaking the law. You wouldn't be the first fan to have a row with major sports channels. There are plenty of illegal streaming sites out there dedicated entirely to pirating sports broadcasts. You shouldn't have any trouble finding one.

And There's Always Twitter...

If none of those options suffice, or you have to go out for dinner or something while the games are on, and you're not into, like, radio basketball, you can always count on Twitter. This year the NCAA is releasing Vine-like 15-second videos of game highlights through their @MarchMadness account. Alternatively, you could always follow SB Nation's GIF account. They'll definitely be coming through with all of your buzzer-beating, posterizing, ankle-breaking GIF needs.

Update, Thursday: Track how the President's predictions compare with the actual sports pundits in The 2013 Atlantic Wire Bracket of Celebrity/Pundit Bracket Predictions.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.