The best two days in sports–AKA the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament–kick off with easily one of this year’s most compelling Round of 64 games: No. 7 seed Rhode Island vs. No. 10 Oklahoma at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
The game is scheduled to start Thursday at 12:15 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.
With Oklahoma, you have probably the most polarizing team in the country.
The Sooners began the season 14-2 with wins over Oregon, USC, Wichita State (on the road), TCU (twice) and Texas Tech. During that stretch, freshman Trae Young absolutely lit the college basketball world ablaze, averaging 30.1 points and 10.0 assists per game while shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range on a ludicrous 10.4 attempts per contest. Young was suddenly the next Steph Curry and Player of the Year, and the Sooners were headed for Top-4 seed.
Then the collapse came. OU proceeded to go 4-11 during the rest of the season, and just 2-8 since the start of February. Over those last 10 games, Young’s numbers have dropped to 21.2 points, 7.1 assists and 5.0 turnovers per game on 35.0 percent shooting from the field and an anemic 25.5 percent from deep.
The Sooners–controversially–made it into the field on the strength of a bevy of big wins, but they enter the tournament as the coldest team in the field, and they haven’t won away from their home court since December 30. Still, if Young can get rolling again, he’s the type of transcendent talent who can “Kemba Walker” this tournament and put Oklahoma on his back.
On the other side of this matchup, Rhode Island is another bit of an enigma. This year’s team returned Jared Terrell and EC Matthews, two of the biggest contributors from last year’s squad that advanced to the Round of 32 and nearly took down eventual Final 4 participant Oregon, so they entered with high expectations. They’ve mostly met those expectations, beating tournament teams Seton Hall and Providence and starting off 13-0 in the A-10, but they also enter the tournament on a bit of a cold streak having gone just 4-4 (and losing all three against other tournament teams, Davidson and St. Bonaventure) in their last eight.
This matchup isn’t just interesting due to each team’s polarizing nature, though. They are also a compelling matchup, as OU ranks 47th in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, while Danny Hurley’s squad is 49th. The Rams, who rank fifth in the nation in turnover percentage, have a defense capable of forcing Young into a lot of mistakes, but they’re also not far removed from allowing a mediocre Saint Joseph’s team to shoot 9-of-18 from three, so there should also be opportunities for the future lottery pick to shine.
On the other side of the court, Rhode Island often struggles to shoot the ball (151st in the nation in effective field-goal percentage), but Oklahoma has offered next to zero resistance defensively over the last couple of months.
Throw in the fact that neither team minds pushing the pace–though Oklahoma plays much faster–and we have the makings for a shootout that comes down to the final possessions–which would be the perfect way to start the tournament.