By Jim Karpen on Fri, 03/22/2013
1. NCAA March Madness Live (free)
The official NCAA app, NCAA March Madness Live lets you live-stream every game to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — for free. Note, though, that in some cases you'll need to be a cable suscriber in order to access the free live stream. For those games being broadcast by TBS, TNT, and truTV, you'll need to log into your cable account in order to stream the games. However, those that are broadcast by CBS are available regardless if you have cable TV. You can also use the app to track the bracket and, if you're not streaming the game live, to track the scores and stats of the games in real time. The app also includes alerts related to the latest tournament news.
2. Hotspot Shield (free)
Now suppose you've got the app but you're at work and, er, the company firewall won't let you stream the game. There's an app for that! According to the PR rep who contacted me, Hotspot Shield lets you bypass work firewalls so you can live-stream the games. She described it as a free service, but it appears to require a small in-app purchase ranging from $0.99 to $3.99. In fact, she said a third of companies are indeed either banning or blocking March Madness video, or are slowing down the feeds so it doesn't impact the company's bandwidth. So if you're addicted, you may want to take advantage of Hotspot Shield.
3. theScore Mobile (free)
If you're unable to watch a game via live streaming but still want to track the live scores, the best app for that may be theScore Mobile. It offers an interactive bracket and up-to-the-minute scores, as well as the latest news and push alerts. It also has a feature called Upset Tracker Alert that sends an alert if there's an upset in the making so that you can follow the action live. The Final Score Alert sends you an alert with the final score of every game in the tournament. The app also covers a wide range of other sports.
4. PocketBracket ($0.99)
PocketBracket is the top app for creating your brackets and pools. Your bracket is automatically scored and ranked after each game. You can create and join pools with a single tap, and invite people to your pool via email, Facebook, Twitter, or iMessage. ESPN Bracket Bound 2013 (free) also lets you create brackets and follow the latest news and scores.
5. College Basketball by StatSheet (free)
The College Basketball app has more than 2 billion stats. It gives you the full schedule of every team and the details of all their games and individual player stats. A neat feature is the app's algorithm that ranks every player and team. The app includes articles and analysis, as well as previews and recaps for all games.