• Complete coverage of NCAA Tournament through streaming service
• ESPN Player to bring fans across UK and Europe live and on-demand tournament action
• Brits in action for Iowa and UC Irvine
ESPNPlayer.com will bring UK and European viewers live and on-demand coverage of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka March Madnesss®) as the top 68 college teams in the US compete for supremacy. Available on Mac, PC, iPad and through Samsung and LG smart TVs, ESPN Player’s coverage begins on Tuesday 17 March and runs through five rounds to the National Championship game on Monday 6 April as the eyes of the basketball world focus on the knock-out tournament famed for its upsets, excitement and drama.
The build-up to March Madness® began with Championship Week in the first two weeks of March as teams competed to secure one of 31 automatic places in the tournament. The remaining 37 teams were chosen “at large” by a committee based on their regular-season performance.
There is a strong British contingent in this year’s tournament – UK-native Gabriel Olaseni is a key part of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes team which has been seeded seventh in the tournament. His performances off the bench this season have seen him named the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year. In addition, guard Luke Nelson, originally from Worthing, helped guide UC Irvine to their first ever NCAA Tournament with a win in the Big West Championship over Hawai’i. Iowa will face Davidson, while UC Irvine take on powerhouse Louisville, three-time NCAA Tournament champions – both games will be available live on ESPN Player.
Before the tournament begins, basketball fans around the world will predict how it will unfold by filling out their brackets. The notoriously difficult process sees millions of fans log their guesses online into ESPN’s Tournament Challenge bracket game – which received more than 11 million entries in 2014, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
NCAA TOURNAMENT LIVE ON ESPNPLAYER.COM
ESPN Player will stream live coverage of every game throughout March Madness® to basketball fans in the UK and across Europe.
ESPN Player’s extensive coverage of the NCAA Tournament includes:
• 17-18 March – First Round: four “play-in” games as eight teams compete for four spaces in the final 64.
• 19-22 March – Second Round and Third Round: Live back-to-back basketball across four consecutive days – a total of 48 games. ESPN Player will provide flexible game coverage from each of the four tournament regions – East, West, Midwest and South – and fans will be able to watch any single game they choose, both live and on-demand.
• 26-29 March – Regional Semifinals: The remain Sweet Sixteen field compete and are narrowed to the Elite Eight and a coveted spot in the celebrated Final Four.
• 4 April – The Final Four National Semifinals: Live from the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis the final four teams in the tournament compete for a spot in the Championship Game.
• 6 April – NCAA National Championship Game: The final two teams in the country play for a place in history.
This year’s NCAA Tournament follows on from a thrilling regular season which has seen impressive performances from teams such as first-ranked Kentucky, second-ranked Virginia and Arizona, as well as traditional powerhouse schools Duke, Wisconsin, Kansas and Villanova. Each year highly seeded colleges are under pressure to avoid a surprise defeat to low-ranked teams hoping to make a “Cinderella” run. Last year was the first time ever the championship game didn’t feature a number one, two, or three seed, as seventh seed Connecticut defeated eighth seed Kentucky to win their fourth title.