FAQ: NCAA Tournament on TV, radio, Web, mobile

Posted March 7, 2011
Updated April 2, 2015

An overall view of the Greensboro Coliseum during semifinal action of the 2013 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament on March 16, 2013 in Greensboro, NC.

It's NCAA Tournament time on television, radio and digital platforms. Here's how to find and track your teams and even play to win $1 million if you can pick a perfect bracket.

Even after your bracket's busted, you can play round-by-round for the chance at Moe's gift cards.

You’ll find most of your questions about game times, regular programming and how to keep track of both answered below. Let us know if you have other questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

NCAA basketball on TV

Q: When do the games begin?

A: The Sweet 16 tips Thursday at 7 p.m. with games in primetime on Thursday and Friday on CBS.

The Regional Finals games will be split by TBS and CBS, with TBS airing the games on Saturday, March 28, beginning at 6 p.m. and CBS airing the games on Sunday, March 29, starting at 2 p.m.

Q: What does this mean for soaps and primetime programs and the evening news?


Check complete listings for WRAL-TV and WRAL2 on

Check complete TV and radio listings for all the games.

New episodes of soap operas return Monday, March 23. The primetime programs return during the first week in April at their regular times.

WRAL’s late night newscast is scheduled to begin after the games, at about midnight on game nights.

Q: Why is this good for viewers?

A: The NCAA’s 14-year contract with CBS and Turner Sports makes every tournament game available in its entirety on TV nationwide.

No longer are fans subject to the decision of the network of when to switch away from a game, and no longer will you have to wait for your game to be "joined in progress." If you have access to all four networks, you can customize your viewing to see the games you want from start to finish, and you can switch from game to game whenever you choose.

The broadcast windows are staggered in such a fashion that a fan can essentially watch wall-to-wall basketball all day and all night.

Q: How do the networks divvy up the games?

A: Over the course of the 67 games of the tournament, 22 will air on CBS/WRAL (including the championship game).

CBS television stations across the country, including WRAL, do not have any choice of what games to air, even regarding teams of local interest. The national game selections are determined by CBS and the three Turner networks.

TBS will televise 20 contests including the Final Four, Elite 8, Sweet 16 and games in the second and third rounds.

truTV kicks off the coverage of the NCAA Tournament with the First Four, and will air a total of 15 games spanning the second and third rounds, along with the Final Four TeamCasts.

TNT will televise 14 games including second and third round match-ups, along with the Final Four TeamCasts.

The Regional Finals games will be split by TBS and CBS, with TBS airing the games on Saturday, March 28, beginning at 6 p.m. and CBS airing the games on Sunday, March 29, starting at 2 p.m.

TBS gets the national semifinals on April 4, while CBS will carry the national championship on Monday, April 6.

Q: Will WRAL carry the games featuring Duke, UNC or NC State?

A: Not necessarily. WRAL has no choice in what game it airs. The station carries whatever game CBS chooses to broadcast nationally.

Q: Can CBS/WRAL pick any game it wants?

A: Actually the networks pick “locations” instead of “games” for each broadcast window. The networks evaluate the interest in the combination of the two games being played at each site and make a selection accordingly.

In each broadcast window (afternoon and evening), CBS will stick to a single site, not take one game from one site and the second game from another.

Q: If a game is a blowout, will the network shift to another, more competitive game?

A: No. Each network must stay with the game that they were scheduled to broadcast. This puts the power in the hands of the viewer. You can change the channel to see a closer game or decide to stay with one until the end.

Q: Will the network switch to another game when a game ends early?

A: CBS is not permitted to take viewers to other games in progress other than a brief “look-in.” (Each network is only allowed a total of three minutes of “look-ins” during the course of a given time block.) If you choose to stay on a single channel, you will see studio updates, highlights and possibly brief “look-ins” between games, schedule permitting.

Q: Will the games be available in high definition?

A: All games on WRAL are in high definition. The three Turner networks have the games in high definition on their respective HD channels. Check with your cable or satellite provider to confirm whether you can receive the Turner channels in HD.

Q: Will any games be simulcast on more than one network?

A: No. Each of the games is shown nationally and independently.

Q: What if viewers do not have access to TBS, TNT or truTV?

A: Unfortunately, fans who do not have cable or satellite, or whose channel lineups do not include all three Turner networks, do not have access to those games on TV. Any game that is not assigned to CBS is shown on one of the Turner networks only. CBS, Turner and the NCAA are cooperating to offer some games online. See below for how to access "March Madness on Demand."

Q: Where can I find truTV?

A: It varies. Below is a guide depending on service and region.

AT&T U-verse TV    1164 (HD)

CenturyLink/Prism 164, 1164 (HD)

Charter                     47, 774 (HD)

DIRECTV                  246 (HD)

DISH Network        9430 (HD)

Greenlight               940, 315 (HD)

Suddenlink             335, 435 (HD)

Time Warner Cable 44 or 112 (40 in Southern Pines, Fayetteville and Lumberton)

NCAA basketball on radio

Q: When I listen to NCAA games on local sports radio?

A: Both 99.9FM The Fan ESPN Radio and Buzz Sports Radio will air live play-by-play of NCAA Tournament games up to and including the national championship.

Note: Due to contractual restrictions, NCAA Tournament games cannot be streamed on or on The WRALSportsFan App.

Q: What about coverage of the Carolina Hurricanes?

A: Carolina Hurricanes games, including the pregame "Stormfront" and postgame "Aftermath," will air as scheduled on 99.9FM The Fan throughout the NCAA Tournament.

Q: Can I listen to games on The Fan and The Buzz online or on my mobile phone?

A: Unfortunately, no. The contract to broadcast NCAA games covers only radio, not our digital stream.

Track the NCAA Tournament on

Log on to for round-the-clock coverage of the Road to the Final Four.

Q: How can I find the schedule for games on TV and radio?

A: Keep up with thefour-network television schedule, the NIT and Division II championship and where to find your games on radio.

Q: Will have real-time scores?

A: Use the interactive NCAA bracket to choose any game for time, place and date, and track real-time running scores for all the games and summaries and box scores as the contests are complete.

Q: Where is the bracket contest?

A: A perfect bracket can win you $1 Million. Enter up front – make all your picks by Thursday – for a chance at the big prize.

Even once your bracket is busted you can still play for prizes. The round-by-round bracket challenge starts over with each round.

You can even compare how you rate up against our “experts,” the guys who watch these games for a living.

Q: How about interviews? Photos?

A: After the games, go behind the scenes with on-demand video and audio of postgame interviews with the players and coaches and relive all the action with round-by-round photo galleries.

Q: Can I get this on my phone or tablet?

A: – schedules, scores, brackets, stories, and video and audio interviews – is redesigned especially for your mobile device. Use your browser to access all the stories, video and audio of

If you prefer an app, download WRALSportsFan for your iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

WRALSportsFan and individual reporters are also active on Twitter. You can follow them as they follow the games or connect to headlines and updates from WRALSportsFan at

Elsewhere on the Web

“NCAA March Madness Live," a cooperative effort of the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports will offer live game video over the internet.

All CBS games will be available without registration or charge. Games broadcast by the Turner networks will require that viewers log in with the password used for their cable or satellite provider.

Fans will also have access to live radio broadcasts, courtesy of Westwood One/Dial Global Radio Network, for all 67 games.

"NCAA March Madness Live" will work on computers, smart phones, the iPad and tablets with the Android 4.0+ operating system, the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Mark Farmer Mar 22, 2015

    I hate sports, so most of the time when WRAL shows Sports, I turn the channel, and sometimes watch CBS channel 13 from South Carolina (I have an Antenna with Rotor). unfortunately at this time they are also showing NCAA, so Netflix, Amazon, And Hulu have my business.

  • Sammy Macloud Mar 11, 2015

    YOU know, I'd bet dollars to donuts that IF the ACC was relegated to WRAL-2 ALL, and I mean ALL, carriers would find a way to broadcast it.

    Not EVERYONE around here lives and breathes ACC

  • apostolicdude7 Mar 18, 2014

    I think the winner of the NCState/Xavier game goes on the play Saint Louis, not Louisville.

  • Jeanne Gunn Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Mix 101.5

  • Matt Clinton Mar 18, 2014

    As a cord cutter I hate the new shared setup with Ted Turner's Colorized Classics Networks, but I guess a "true" sports fan sacrifices everything else so he can afford all the channels. I guess I'll find something else to do.

  • thomasew Mar 13, 2014

    The ACC has become a behemoth, so much that it takes a week to play the tournament. We have way too many teams now. We don't need these New York and Florida teams in the ACC. I miss the times when everyone took off Fri. afternoon to watch the tournament, and there were only three days of it. Now, it takes a week to play the thing. I bet people will get to where they say, so what, it is just the ACC tourny.

  • sportznutv2.11 Mar 12, 2014

    View quoted thread

    good luck to you and Go Heels!

  • milletar Mar 12, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Thanks! I'll be sitting in a chemo chair on Friday and did not want to miss seeing the Tarheels beat ???

  • Michael Hart Mar 12, 2014

    View quoted thread


  • kmws Mar 12, 2014

    There has been a big deal made about the new channel listings for Time Warner customers, but where can ATT Uverse customers access WRAL-2? Not to watch the programming that is moved there while tournament games....but to see the games you're not covering on WRAL?




  • CBB: Virginia at Pittsburgh

    Today at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Michigan State at Michigan

    Today at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Florida at Kentucky

    Today at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Arizona at Washington

    Today at 4:30 pm on FOX50

  • 5th Annual NFL Honors

    Tonight at 8:00 on WRAL-TV

  • Super Bowl 50: Panthers vs. Denver

    Tomorrow at 6:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UNC at Boston College

    Tuesday at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: NC State at Duke

    Today at 2:00 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • CBB: Purdue at Maryland

    Today at 4:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Montreal

    Tomorrow at 2:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Super Bowl: Panthers vs. Denver

    Tomorrow at 5:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

NFL Scoreboard
Sunday, Feb. 7
Carolina 3:30 PT4:30 MT5:30 CT6:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST5:30 CT3:30 UAE (+1)18:30 ET21:30
ATP Scoreboard
Saturday, Feb. 6
Open Sud de France (ATP)
Ecuador Open (ATP)
Sofia Open (ATP)
(1) R. Bautista A77 2    
(6) G. Muller65 2    
(2) V. Troicki 
(7) M. Klizan