How to Stream 2018-2019 NCAA Basketball Games from Anywhere
The Villanova Wildcats took home last year’s Men’s NCAA Basketball National Championship in style, but they’ve since lost their top four scorers, leaving the field wide open.
New UConn coach Dan Hurley will also be feeling the pressure, after star prospects Shareef O’Neal and Tyger Campbell were ruled out for the season. Amidst the chaos, classic power Duke has risen as the early favorite.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame looks to repeat on the women’s side, continuing the sports resurgence of America’s most famous Catholic university. It all adds up to months of exciting viewing – if you’re in the USA.
All major networks that broadcast NCAA basketball are geoblocked outside the US, making the live streams very hard to reach from a non-US IP address. Furthermore, regional coverage means regional blackouts, so even US viewers can get shut out of the action.
ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) carry many NCAA basketball games, including premier early season events like the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, the NIT Tip-Off, and the Maui Invitational.
Regional college sports networks (e.g. SEC Network, Big Ten Network) will broadcast hundreds of games, with CBS covering big games as the season builds toward March Madness. Regional Fox Sports networks will carry some games as well.
Good news for basketball fans everywhere! By following our simple guide, you’ll be able to bypass geo-restrictions and blackouts with the help of a quality VPN. Here’s everything you need to know to stream NCAA basketball from anywhere in the world.
How to Watch NCAA College Basketball: Quick Guide
With thousands of games during an NCAA basketball season, you couldn’t watch them all with 10 VPNs. So the first thing you need to decide is how many games you want to access. The NCAA basketball website has a complete game schedule.
For coverage of early-season tournaments and top weeknight regular season games, you’ll need ESPN networks, which can be easily reached with Sling TV.
Streaming games on ESPN networks with Sling TV Orange
- Pick a VPN provider with high-speed US servers optimized for streaming live sports and other TV content. (Tip: NordVPN is sure to handle your needs.)
- Download and open the VPN app. Pick a server location in the US when prompted.
- Sign up for Sling TV Orange* to gain access to NCAA basketball games on ESPN.
- Enjoy high-profile college basketball matchups all season long!
*PRO TIP: If you don’t have a US-based payment method, go to MyGiftCardSupply.com and purchase a Sling TV gift card. Follow the instructions carefully to redeem your gift card and sign up.
Streaming games on YouTube TV for the most complete coverage
Unfortunately, Sling TV doesn’t include CBS, so it’s not a great choice for late-season NCAA basketball drama. Another issue is that adding Fox and college sports regional networks to a Sling TV Orange package substantially increases the price.
For access to not only ESPN but also CBS, Fox Sports regional networks, and regional college sports broadcasters like the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 networks, your best bet is to sign up for YouTube TV.
- Pick a VPN provider with numerous US server locations (to avoid regional blackouts) and high speeds for streaming. NordVPN is our top pick.
- Download and launch the VPN app, then choose a US server.
- Sign up for YouTube TV* and select all the channels you want for NCAA basketball coverage.
- Enjoy access to almost every US college basketball game this year!
*PRO TIP: Since YouTube TV is a Google product, you can subscribe using your Google account and pay by Google Play Store gift card to avoid any issues with not having a US-based payment method.
Streaming NCAA Women’s basketball games on WatchESPN
Many NCAAW games are available via ESPN, but only for ESPN+ subscribers. ESPN+ is available for about $5.00 per month, and comes with a 7-day free trial.
NCAAW basketball games are shown on the WatchESPN app or website, which can be accessed with a Sling TV or YouTube TV account.
Why You Need a VPN to Watch NCAA Basketball
Using a top-rated virtual private network (VPN) is the best way to get the unlimited, high-speed access you need to watch US live sports from anywhere.
When you connect to a VPN server, you’ll be assigned a new IP address that matches the location you’ve selected. That’s how the VPN tricks a streaming platform into thinking you’re watching from a US city.
However, most free VPNs can’t unblock geo-restricted sites like streaming platforms, since the IPs these services use are easy for VPN-screening software to detect and block.
Premium VPN providers, on the other hand, are constantly updating their servers in an endless game of cat and mouse. For the best streaming performance, look for a VPN with a proven record of accessing tough-to-reach services like Netflix.
The ideal provider will also ensure a smooth, fast connection. This is doubly important when streaming live sports. A couple of seconds of lag at the wrong time can ruin your viewing experience.
If you’re planning to watch for the entire season, look for a VPN provider that offers long-term plans at big discounts compared to a month-to-month subscription.
Within the US, depending on your location, you’re likely to be subject to regional blackouts of NCAA games. These can be avoided with a VPN by connecting to a server in a different US city where the game you want to see is available.
A VPN will also protect your privacy while you’re online. By masking your true IP and encrypting all of your traffic, the VPN stops anyone from collecting your data. Not even your IP will know what you’ve been up to on the web.
Best VPNs for Watching NCAA Basketball Games
NordVPN is a rock-solid provider that offers a great balance of security and speed at an affordable price.
It’s perfect for watching US sports, with almost 2,000 high-speed servers across the country, and it bypasses geo-restrictions on most online services. Smart Play is a secure proxy designed specifically for accessing streaming sites, making it even easier to get connected.
Strongly focused on security, NordVPN comes with features including Double VPN encryption and a unique CyberSec suite that works to block suspicious websites and malware before they attack your device.
NordVPN gets consistently high marks from users, and it works great for both Sling TV and YouTube TV.
Money-back guarantee: 30 days
Free trial: 3 days
With over 3,000 servers in 61 countries, CyberGhost is a great option for accessing a range of online websites. The Romania-based VPN works to block ads and malicious content, and it allows for simultaneous connections of up to 7 devices with one account.
Another high-scoring VPN, CyberGhost offers reliable connection speeds and 497 servers to choose from in the US. This means you’ll be able to easily bypass blackouts by connecting to a different city that isn’t affected by the restriction.
Longer subscription plans are inexpensive, and the provider also has one of the longest money-back guarantees in the business.
Money-back guarantee: 45 days on subscriptions of 6 months or longer; 30 days otherwise
Free trial: 7-day trial for mobile; 1-day or 3-day Windows trial available
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN has the fastest connection speeds of the 300+ providers we’ve tested.
That makes it great for watching live sports like NCAA basketball. You’ll never suffer the irritation of lag or buffering while you’re connected to ExpressVPN’s speedy US servers.
With a pile of enthusiastic user reviews, ExpressVPN is a premium service from top to bottom. The apps come with numerous protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, PPTP) that you can access with a few clicks for the best possible results on almost any device.
ExpressVPN also allows for split tunneling of your traffic (a rare but very handy VPN feature if you multitask), and the provider has a strict no-logging policy for user data.
Money-back guarantee: 30 days
Free trial: 7-day trial for iOs and Android
American college basketball is difficult to watch outside the US (and sometimes even in the US!) but a VPN will ensure that you can watch the games you want to see from anywhere.
You’ll be freed from both geoblocks and regional blackouts, so it’s the perfect opportunity to become an expert on the entire next generation of basketball superstars.
And remember, a VPN is both the best way to access geo-restricted sites and the best way to safeguard your privacy and secure your connection against cybercrime.
The cost of a high-quality VPN is small compared to the cost of a streaming service subscription, but the payoff is huge in terms of expanded content access. To see just how affordable top VPNs really are, check out our collection of current coupon codes.