Let the Madness begin: 12 apps and games for surviving the NCAA basketball tournament

NCAA March Madness Live app for Windows

Many years ago, I triumphed in a March Madness pool. It’s the only time I’ve ever won, but because of that lone victory, I engage in bracket bravado with gusto every year. And now, I can hope for some slam dunks through Windows and Windows Phone apps to help me research the teams that will fill out my NCAA basketball tournament brackets, keep up with the action once it starts and follow it all the way to the final four and the championship game.

NCAA March Madness Live app for Windows Phone

Fans can watch every moment of all 67 games on Windows 8.1 PCs, tablets – and Windows Phone devices – with the NCAA March Madness Live app. All the live games on CBS are free to watch, while those on TBS, TNT and truTV require a TV subscription login. Everyone can participate in the Capital One NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge and enjoy Live Tile updates with the latest scores, news and video highlights. Set up live game alerts and notifications for your favorite teams, possible upsets, overtimes and close games. Install NCAA March Madness Live from the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store, and read more about the app on the Windows Experience Blog and the Windows Phone Blog.

Bing Sports (found in the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store) is a great place to start reading up on the NCAA teams, if you haven’t already been keeping up. By choosing “NCAA Basketball” as a favorite sport, I can find news and videos related to games and teams, including picks for tournament favorites from news outlets such as The Seattle Times, The Associated Press, Fox Sports and the Kansas City Star. I can also check out rankings at a glance. I pinned NCAA Basketball to my Start screen for fast access, and with Snap View, it’s easy to do work on one-half of the screen while keeping up with the tournament on the other side. (If you’re so inclined.)

ESPN Scorecenter app for Windows

Along the same lines, The ESPN App for Windows is a reliable powerhouse of scores, news, videos and photos related to pretty much every major sport, including NCAA basketball. Once the tournament starts, this app is worth pinning to your Start screen for up-to-the-minute scores and direct access to ESPN.com. On Windows Phone, ESPN Hub is the way to go when you’re out and about to keep you in the know on the tournament. ESPN Scorecenter is another way to stay on top of scores. You can find it in the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store.

CBS Sports (also on Windows tablets and PCs, as well as Windows Phone) is also a page-turner, with a simplified format that allows for quick reading and quicker intake of the latest scores. Videos are also plentiful here, so it’s easy to catch up on the NCAA’s best. Buzztap (available on Windows Phone and through the Windows Store) culls a variety of sources – such as news sources, blogs, social media and discussion forums – to deliver information on players and teams. You can choose specific players to pin to the Start screen, or the entire NCAA, as one Buzztap block.

After the teams are selected for the tournament Sunday, you can keep up with the games starting March 18. MobileMadness on Windows Phone gives you the results in bracket form too, so you can follow along with your own pool picks. Live scores are updated periodically, final scores are displayed for the current round of action (or the current day) and the tournament bracket is filled in as teams are selected and games are completed. You’ll find updated information every few minutes when games are in progress.

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College Basketball Scoreboard

Another streamlined app that focuses on game results is College Basketball Scoreboard in the Windows Store. It gives scores for the NIT and March Madness, including the Sweet 16, the Final Four and the NCAA Championship.

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“AE Basketball” and “Basketball 3D”

While it’s hard to resist the tournament while it’s on, if you feel like doing some virtual dribbling and shooting before it starts or in-between games, try “Basketball 3D” on Windows Phone. It gives you a way to challenge your shooting skills by flicking the ball toward the basket to take a shot. “AE Basketball” is similar, and makes you shoot as many balls as possible in a limited time to get a higher score. It gets harder as you get better. “Basketball Challenge” provides three different backgrounds and four different balls to show you’ve got game. “Basket+” gives you a fun twist, being able to throw basketballs andvolleyballs, tennis balls, baseballs, footballs, bowling balls, eggs and meteorites on the traditional basketball court, or tennis court, baseball field, football field or bowling alley. The object is the same in every venue: sink the shot in the hoop!

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“Basket+”

Have fun with these games and apps, and good luck with the tournament – may your Cinderellas make it to the Sweet 16 (and beyond)!

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Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff