ncaa march madness live

Hands-on: NCAA March Madness Live, a great Windows time waster

Not every PC app is designed to improve productivity. And one of its greatest threats continues to be the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, which will be showcased via the NCAA March Madness Live app for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone.

Usually, watching March Madness on a PC means surfing to an individual website, confirming that you have the right to watch the game (?!) and tuning in. Not so with Turner Sports Interactive’s NCAA March Madness Live app, currently available for download on the Windows Store in advance of the tournament selection show on March 16. 

NCAA march madness live app

The March Madness app will really get going after the invitations to the tournament are handed out.

Yes, you’ll still need to log in with the username and password given by providers like Comcast to prove that you can have unlimited access to all 67 games. (Note: This may not be the username and password associated with the free email account usually provided by carriers like Comcast, but a separate billing account.) Turner says it will also provide a three-hour live video pass, presumably for one-time viewing. Live video appears to be available for the Windows Phone app, too.

What’s great, however, is that the app puts the video in a window, surrounding it with a live box score and other stats, then allows you to swipe to brackets, scores, and a social feed. (The scores and bracket will be added once the teams are invited.)

No, the app doesn’t appear to offer multiple picture-in-picture windows for multigame viewing, nor a “Boss” button to quickly throw up a fake spreadsheet in case certain people wander through. (Psst: That’s what ALT-TAB or a quick swipe is for.) But based on screenshots published by Turner, there will be a thoughtful emphasis on highlighting games in progress, even in the bracket format, so you can tune in and watch the action live.

The app will also ask to run in the background, so it can display scores while the lock screen is active and on the Windows Phone Live Tiles. 

The family teams—Notre Dame and St. Mary’s—fell short of qualifying for the tournament this year, but at least ND knocked off Duke earlier this season. Now, since I’m free to watch March Madness without my nails between my teeth, I’ll be able to bounce back and forth between the tournament, email, the Web, and... hey, is that an upset in the making?

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