March Madness online: A technophile's guide to watching NCAA basketball

March Madness apps abound. We sort through some of the best.

March Madness has arrived. Here, North Carolina guard Kendall Marshall reacts during a game between the Miami Hurricanes and the North Carolina Tar Heels in the quarterfinals of the ACC basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC.

March Madness lurches into gear on Tuesday, which means you have a few days to clear the couch, purchase the requisite foodstuffs, etc. But then again, maybe you won't be watching the March Madness tournament on your television at all. As the Monitor noted recently in a long piece on the changing face of television culture, plenty of Americans prefer to do their viewing these days on laptops and smartphones – and sporting events are no exception.

So assuming you're bored of the traditional TV set, where can you turn for March Madness content? Well, your single best bet might be a new app called NCAA March Madness On Demand, which will apparently allow you to stream free live video of any match in the NCAA 2011 Division I tournament. The On Demand app is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, the iPad, and presumably the brand new iPad 2; you can download it for free here.

Don't have an Apple device? Don't fret. Android users can access NCAA March Madness Fan Zone, another free app which includes "basketball scores, news and rankings." Unlike the iOS app, Fan Zone won't give you access to any streaming video. But it will let NCAA diehards create fan groups and chat with like-minded friends; there's also an option to sync up content with Facebook and Twitter. That application is here.

Bracketologist? As Jack Rowland of notes, you could do worse than downloading the Pocket Bracket app, which is available for both Android and Apple devices. Pocket Bracket costs a buck, but comes with a bunch of interesting features, including the option to create unlimited brackets, and keep up-to-the-minute on the progress of all your teams. That app is here.

Of course, half the excitement for any veteran of March Madness is the boasting, and Sporting News NCAA Basketball app, which was developed by the folks at the Zumobi Network, lets us track a bunch of teams, and post related notes to Facebook and Twitter. Also available through the Sporting News app are push notifications for your favorite teams; with that functionality, you don't even have bother clicking your phone. The news comes straight to you.

NCAA basketball fan? Got some tips on a few good apps? Drop us a line in the comments section. In the meantime, if you haven't done so already – and plenty of you already have – sign up for the Innovation newsletter, which is emailed out every Wednesday morning.

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