Game on. The 2018 NCAA Tournament (that's college men's basketball, in case you're not into such things) is underway. That means countless work hours lost over the next couple weeks, but specifically in these early days as we all pore over our brackets, hoping to avoid the bust and advance to the next round.
Sadly, we don't all have televisions in our offices. But seeing as how this is 2018, there's more than one way to keep up with the tourney. A trusty web browser is one, of course. But you're on the go. That's where these handy Android apps come in.
theScore is a longtime sports staple on Android. Follow leagues, teams and even individual players. You'll get real time updates on scores, stats and news, and the ability to fine tune and personalize that feed. It's got a dedicated tournament section, with a smartly designed sort of bracket that's using Android design guidelines instead of the sort of pan-and-zoom thing you'll find elsewhere. It's really well done.
The app is ad-supported, but it's also one of those apps that can very well stick around once you try it. So try it.
NCAA March Madness Live
This one's the official app from the folks putting on the tournament, so you know it's good. It's also very much sponsored by AT&T, Capital One and Infiniti, so you'll be subjected to ads from those three throughout. But if you've got a cable subscription this is a great way to watch all the games live.
And with Chromecast support built in, you can stream to a larger TV or monitor if you're not in the same room as your cable box. Plus there are scores, info on every team in the tourney, and the ability to keep up with your bracket, at least until it gets busted.
ESPN Tournament Challenge
This one's less about following the tournament and more about a bracket challenge. Specifically, if you're playing with ESPN's brackets. (If you're not, just move on.) You can follow up to 25 brackets and get alerts on the latest news. You also get access to Bracketcast which allows you to see how upsets or underdogs have affected your own brackets. Following scores is fairly simply, but the app also is (unsurprisingly) pretty ad-heavy.
CBS consistently has had some of the best sports apps out there, and that continues this year with the latest iteration of the CBS Sports app. At launch you'll be asked if you want to use location services to follow local (or regional) teams. Do or do not, there is no try. You also can designate specific teams in any of the sports that you want to give special attention to.
From there, it's all sports, all the time. That means you'll see other events lumped with the basketball games. Just duck into the drawer on the left for quick links to scores and news, the full brackets, and expert pics. (And CBS has added the NIT tournament for good measure.) You also get Chromecast support, live streaming radio, and personalized alerts for the news stories that you don't want to miss.
If you're looking for a really good all-around sports app, this is one to have.
Those are still our favorite picks. Did we miss something that's worth checking out? Let us know in the comments. And may your bracket live beyond the weekend.
Updated March 2018: We've updated our favorites for following this year's big dance.