In the midst of a five-game winning streak, which includes an impressive run through the Pac-12 tournament, No. 4 seed Arizona begins their NCAA tournament with a matchup against MAC champs Buffalo in Boise on Thursday night.
The game is scheduled to start around 9:40 p.m. ET (about 25 minutes after the conclusion of Kentucky vs Davidson, which starts at 7:10 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast nationally on CBS. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Amazon Prime: If you have Amazon Prime or want to start a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, you can watch a live stream of your local CBS channel via the CBS All-Access Amazon Channel, which comes with a 7-day free trial. Once you’re signed up for both Amazon Prime and the CBS channel, you can watch CBS live on your computer via the Amazon website, or on your phone, tablet or other streaming device via the the Amazon Video app.
CBS All Access: This service lets you watch a live stream of your local CBS channel (most markets included), as well as all of CBS’ on-demand library. It’s ultimately the same as the above option, only you’re watching through CBS’ digital platform rather than Amazon’s. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and then you can watch on your computer via the CBS website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the CBS app.
Hulu With Live TV: If you want an extensive Netflix-like on-demand streaming library in addition to live TV, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including CBS (live in select markets). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of CBS on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
FuboTV: CBS (live in select markets) is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. It comes with a free 7-day trial, and you can watch on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app
Note: You can also watch any tournament game on your computer via the March Madness Live website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the March Madness Live app. To watch these streams, you’ll have a free preview before needing to sign in to a TV provider to keep watching, but if you don’t have cable, you can do this by logging in with your Hulu credentials.
Arizona hasn’t let the wiretap report serve as a distraction, as they enter the NCAA tournament with eight wins in their last nine. That includes an impressive three-game run in the Pac-12 tournament that saw the ‘Cats–who have often struggled defensively this season–hold Colorado, UCLA and USC to 65.0 points per game and 0.938 points per possession.
Say what you want about the strength–or lack thereof–of the Pac-12, but if a team with three future NBA players, including potential No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton, plays defense like that, they’re going to be really difficult to beat.
That’s bad news for Buffalo, who have the makeup of a potential Cinderella team but were handed a really tough matchup.
The Bulls have tournament experience, as leading scorers CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins played significant roles on the 2016 team that nearly took down No. 3 seed Miami in the first round. They have good, veteran backcourt play in the form of Massinburg and senior Missouri transfer Wes Clark. They’re efficient offensively (18th among tournament teams in effective field-goal percentage, 22nd in turnover percentage, 30th in three-point percentage), and they play at a fast pace, so they could potentially give Arizona’s defense problems.
What Nate Oats’ team doesn’t have, though, is an answer for the 7-foot-1 Ayton or even the 7-foot-0 Dusan Ristic. The team’s primary big man, Perkins, is a very good player but is only 6-foot-8, while their biggest players, Ikenna Smart (6-foot-10, 241 pounds) and Montell McRae (6-foot-10, 198 pounds), are generally reduced to limited minutes.
Ayton, who has put up a ridiculous 32.0 points and 16.0 rebounds per game over his last two, will be a candidate to put on another show on Thursday night. Again, Buffalo has the offensive game to keep up and turn this thing into a shootout, but the Wildcats, who are nine-point favorites, should ultimately prevail in the end.
No matter what happens, though, this sets up as one of the more entertaining–and underrated–games of the first round.