March Madness, for those not familiar, is one of the most popular sporting events around. Seventy-two teams will compete over the next few weeks to ultimately crown a NCAA Men's Basketball Champion. The event will generate billions in revenue and millions will be lost in job productivity due to everyone calling in sick to watch the games.
The number of apps exclusive to the NCAA Tourney have slimmed down a bit over the years but we were able to find a few for this roundup that should only help contribute to the chaos we know as March Madness.
1. Bing Sports
Bing Sports (also known as MSN Sports or simply Sports) is a quality Windows Phone sport app that covers the full spectrum of sporting events. From Formula One racing to the National Football League.
The Windows Phone app also has a respectable section specific to NCAA Men's Basketball that provides a healthy amount of information on March Madness. To find the NCAA Basketball section, swipe over to the My Sports page of the app (it's wedged between the Slideshow and My Teams page). If NCAA Basketball isn't listed, tap the + button at the bottom of the page and check it on the sports list.
The NCAA Basketball Section offers a host of pages that includes the schedule of games, top stories, video stories and the latest AP and Coaches poll. The NCAA Basketball section can be pinned to your Windows Phone Start Screen to make the section easier to access and scoring updates.
Also, speaking of Bing, the online search engine has tons of information on the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament including a bracket builder complete with Bing predictions. If this link won't take you there, just search for "March Madness 2015" at Bing.com from your desktop browser.
2. NCAA March Madness Live
If you are looking for just one Windows Phone app to cover the Men's Basketball Tournament, NCAA March Madness Live is the one to have.
The app was updated for the 2015 Tournament and here is a listing of the key features this Windows Phone app provides:
- Watch live streaming of all 67 games (paid TV subscription required for games broadcast on TBS, TNT and truTV; 3 hour live video pass available prior to logging in; CBS games do not require a paid TV subscription).
- Follow up-to-the-minute scores and stats, and explore the tournament with the interactive bracket.
- Immerse yourself in the tournament with analysis, best storylines, and classic March Madness moments.
- Make your picks in the official bracket game of March Madness, the Capital One NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge.
- Satisfy your team fan loyalties, learn about the Cinderellas, and research your bracket with the all-new team pages.
- Receive live game notifications for upsets, overtimes, close games, and your favorite teams.
- Experience the best of social media from Twitter, in the Coke Zero Social Arena.
- Enjoy team-specific live video streaming during each of the National Semifinal games at the Final Four.
Personally, I think what sets NCAA March Madness Live apart from the other sports apps is two features – live streaming of games and the Bracket Challenge. Sure, live streaming requires you to log into your cable provider but if you manage your cable bill online, that shouldn't be an issue. However, if you are stuck in carpool line during the afternoon games, live streaming is a fantastic way to pass the time.
I'm also a sucker for Tournament Brackets and having the ability to easily fill them out on your Windows Phone is nice. The research pages for each teams is a nice feature and definitely helps in making some of the more difficult bracket choices. I also like the specificity of the toast notifications. You can go into the settings and select which teams you want to follow.
All in all, the powers that be have done a nice job of things with NCAA March Madness Live. As with the other apps in this brief roundup, NCAA March Madness Live is also available for Windows 8 devices.
3. ESPN ScoreCenter
Much like Bing Sports, ESPN ScoreCenter is a complete package for sports news, scores, video highlights and more. Along with coverage on the NFL, NBA, College Football and Cricket the ESPN ScoreCenter app also provides coverage on the NCAA Men's Basketball season, which includes March Madness.
Getting there is can be a little tricky though.
- First, tap the hamburger button (the three hash marks) in the upper left corner of the ESPN ScoreCenter's screen.
- This will pull up your selected sports coverage including a My Teams and The Lead section.
- If NCAAM isn't shown, tap the edit button at the bottom of the screen.
- You will see a series of pages that includes My Sports, My Teams, Alerts and Other.
- From the My Sports page tap Add a Sport > Basketball > NCAAM > NCAAM – NCAA Tournament to have the Tournament pages available on the app's sports coverage listing.
Incidentally, if you're a fan of the NIT (National Invitational Tournament) that option is also available.
Once added to the coverage, choosing the NCAA Men's Tournament will pull up a collection of pages that includes video highlights, scores, news and standings. Games in progress will have a live feed highlighting all the action. Unfortunately, neither Bing Sports nor ESPN ScoreCenter offers a bracket page.
ESPN ScoreCenter does offer support for pinning individual teams to your Windows Phone Start Screen but requires an ESPN membership to activate that feature.
4. Your Recommendations?
Along with these four Windows Phone apps you also have the likes of ScoreMobile, College Basketball and the CBS Sports app available in the Windows Phone Store to help you keep up with all the March Madness action. Missing from action are the likes of MobileMadness and Brackets, which were two Windows Phone apps that helped you keep up with your bracketology. Brackets is still listed in the Store but has yet to be updated for the 2015 Tournament.
But what say you? If we have missed your favorite March Madness Windows Phone app, feel free to toss out your recommendation in the comments below. And for those who have filled out your brackets, good luck. It will be interesting to see if Kentucky can make history and run the table.