March Madness 2024: How to watch the First Four games in the women’s NCAA tournament

HIGH POINT, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 9: Tilda Sjokvist #4 of the Presbyterian Blue Hose dribbles against the High Point Panthers during the Big South Womens Basketball tournament at High Point University on March 9, 2024 in High Point, North Carolina.  (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)

Tilda Sjokvist #4 and the Presbyterian Blue Hose play the Sacred Heart Pioneers this week in the NCAA tournament’s First Four. (Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)

It’s time for March Madness! 68 teams in both the men’s and women’s divisions will play a combined 135 games across the next three weeks. The women’s NCAA tournament tips off this Wednesday, Mar. 20 with the First Four games, where Sacred Heart (16) faces Presbyterian (16) to see who will advance to the field of 64 to take on the No. 1 seed South Carolina. Then, Vanderbilt (12) plays Columbia (12). Both of Wednesday’s March Madness games will air on ESPNU. Is your bracket ready? Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch March Madness, including key dates for the NCAA tournament, how to watch games for free and more.

How to watch the First Four March Madness games:

Dates: Mar. 20-21

TV Channel: ESPNU, ESPN2

Streaming: Sling Orange & Blue, YouTube TV

When does March Madness start?

The women’s NCAA tournament tips off with First Four games on Wednesday, Mar. 20.

March Madness First Four schedule:

Wednesday, Mar. 20 — First Four

(16) Sacred Heart vs. (16) Presbyterian: 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

(12) Vanderbilt vs. (12) Columbia: 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

Thursday, Mar. 21 — First Four

(11) Auburn vs. (11) Arizona: 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

(16) Holy Cross vs. (16) UT Martin: 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

March Madness channel:

The First Four games of the women’s tournament will air across ESPNU and ESPN2. Games for the women’s NCAA tournament will air across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews and ABC.

The men’s NCAA March Madness tournament will air live across a combination of CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. If you don’t currently get all those channels, here’s what we recommend:

  • For live local channels like CBS or ABC, we recommend looking into an old school TV antenna, or signing up for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME, which includes access to live CBS coverage.

  • For access to games on TBS, TNT and truTV, HBO’s Max is currently still offering its sports add-on (B/R Sports) free for subscribers of any Max tier.

  • If you only want to add one subscription to your arsenal, some live TV streaming services offer all the channels you’ll need to keep up with March Madness, like DirecTV, Sling’s Orange & Blue plan and YouTube TV.

How to watch March Madness without cable:

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Starting at $30 for your first month, Sling TV’s Orange & Blue plan offers ABC, ESPN, TNT, TBS, TruTV, ESPN and ESPN2 — AKA nearly every channel you’ll need to watch both men’s and women’s March Madness (along with 30+ other channels). A Sling subscription also includes 50 hours of free DVR storage, so if you’re worried about missing any of the NCAA action, you can always record games.

For the women’s NCAA tournament, you’ll need access to ESPNU and ESPNews, which you can get with Sling’s $11/monthly Sports Extra add-on. 


  • Almost every game for the men’s and women’s tournament

$41 for your first month at Sling

March Madness schedule 2024:

  • March 19-20: First Four games in Dayton, Ohio

  • March 21-22: First round games at various locations

  • March 23-24: Second round games at various locations

  • March 28-29: Sweet 16 games at various locations

  • March 30-31: Elite Eight games at various locations

  • April 6: Final Four games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

  • April 8: NCAA Championship Game at Start Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

More ways to watch March Madness 2024:

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