basketball-men-d1 flag | April 2, 2016

March Madness: Game times, live stream links and everything else you need to know about the Final Four

Buddy Hield: The Bahamian Baller

Here's everything you need to know about the March Madness Final Four, including game times, live stream links, television schedule, tickets, and game previews.

Where and when is the Final Four?

March Madness culminates this year with the Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on April 2 and 4.

What television station is the Final Four and college basketball championship on this year?

TBS will broadcast the National Championship on Monday, April 4, marking the first time the title game has been televised on cable in the 78-year history of the event. Coverage will tip off from NRG Stadium in Houston with the Capital One Championship Central pre-game show from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. For the third consecutive year, TBS will televise the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals on Saturday, April 2, beginning at 6 p.m. Team-specific "Team Stream by Bleacher Report" coverage available via TNT and truTV.

Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and reporter Tracy Wolfson will call the Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship for the second consecutive year.

Ernie Johnson will host studio coverage from the Final Four National Semifinals on Saturday, April 2, and National Championship on Monday, April 4, from NRG Stadium with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith. They will be joined by Bryant Gumbel along with analyst Reggie Miller and insider Seth Davis.

Who is playing in the Final Four?

The teams in this year's semifinals are Oklahoma, Villanova, and Syracuse, and North Carolina. Oklahoma vs. Villanova play at 6:09 p.m. Eastern on TBS. North Carolina against Syracuse will follow 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

What time are the games and where can I live stream the Final Four?

Here's the complete game times and streaming schedule for the Final Four:

Oklahoma vs. Villanova | 6:09 p.m. Eastern | tbs stream | Oklahoma Team Stream on TNT | Villanova Team Stream on truTV

Syracuse vs. North Carolina | 40 minutes after first game | tbs stream | North Carolina Team Stream on TNT | Syracuse Team Stream on truTV

Where can I get tickets to the Final Four?

The NCAA reminds fans who plan to attend the 2016 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four games to purchase tickets from authorized sources to reduce chances of fraudulent activities. Fans are advised to purchase any tickets still available directly from:

  • Men’s
  • PrimeSport--the NCAA’s official ticket and hospitality package provider,
  • NCAA Ticket Exchange--the NCAA’s official ticket exchange,
  • Host colleges/universities or athletics conferences; and
  • Ticket offices of schools participating in the championships.

NCAA basketball championship tickets bear unique security marks that cannot be reproduced.  Individuals who purchase tickets from unofficial sources, including unauthorized street vendors, run the risk of purchasing tickets that are not authentic and do not grant entrance to championship games.

Fans are subject to local government regulations, ordinances or laws, and possible prosecution, if they are caught selling tickets to or from unauthorized sources.  NCAA tickets may not be offered in a commercial promotion or as a prize in an auction, fundraiser, sweepstakes or contest, unless specifically authorized in advance by the NCAA.  

Here's a closer look at each game from's Brian Mull:

Oklahoma vs. Villanova

These teams are similar. Both revolve around a strong core of perimeter players who embrace the long range shot while also possessing sufficient frontcourt firepower.

Oklahoma is top 15 on both ends of the court in adjusted efficiency and second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (42.8).

The Sooners have an iconic guard in 6-4 senior Buddy Hield, who received a salute from his hero Kobe Bryant during a tournament-best 37 point outburst in the 80-68 West Regional final victory over Oregon. In the second round, Hield scored 36 in a four-point win over VCU.

Oklahoma has been tested, going 12-6 against the KenPom Top 50 and has three seniors and a junior who have made 104 consecutive starts.

After subpar shooting during the regular season, Villanova is scalding the nets in the tournament. It is 37-of-80 (46 percent) beyond-the-arc during four games, and that includes a 4-of-18 clunker in the South Regional final defeat of No. 1 overall seed Kansas.

That performance revealed Villanova’s balance. The Wildcats are third in the nation in 2-point field goal percentage (56.3) and second in free throw percentage (78.4). So while 43 percent of its field goal attempts are launched from long range, Villanova can score in a variety of ways and generates 1.15 points per trip (12th in the nation).

Essentially, five Wildcats average double figures scoring - freshman guard Jalen Brunson scores 9.8 ppg.

Worth watching: Will Villanova’s Josh Hart guard Hield? And is it fair to expect one man to handle the assignment? At 6-5, Hart has a slight height advantage over college basketball’s most lethal scorer. He also possesses the strength and toughness to pester Hield, who committed 11 turnovers in the Sooners’ NCAA wins over Texas A&M and Oregon. Hield is talented enough to score his average of 26 against solid defense and backcourt mates Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard offer ample reinforcement.

North Carolina vs. Syracuse

Frankly, the Tar Heels appear unguardable right now.

 The ACC regular season and tournament champions routinely put five players in double figures scoring. They have a low turnover rate, dominate the offensive backboard to create second chance opportunities and convert 54 percent of 2-point shots (20th in the nation).

UNC just frightened college basketball fans from across the Hoosier State in Philadelphia last weekend, scoring 1.42 points per possession against Indiana and 1.54 (!) against Notre Dame. The 3-point problem that lingered most of the season (285th in nation) appears solved as well. UNC hit 15-of-33 from deep in Philly, and most importantly, Marcus Paige was 8-of-15.

So far in the 2016 NCAA tournament, UNC has played solid defense in stretches, when necessary, to create a cushion. It has won all four tournament games by double-digit margins, nine games in a row overall, silencing critics or analysts who questioned the team’s toughness and defensive intensity.

Syracuse, on the other hand, is the Houston guest no one expected.

The Orange started 0-4 in the ACC and had to sweat it out Selection Sunday. It has as many losses as North Carolina and Oklahoma combined. Syracuse caught a break when Michigan State, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, was upset in the first round, and used late comebacks to shock Gonzaga and Virginia in the regional semifinal and final.

While UNC goes nine or 10 players deep with ease, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s rotation stops at seven. He used five players for at least 32 minutes in the six-point win over the Cavaliers.

The Orange has the requisite length and athleticism to cause problems out of its trademark 2-3 zone, although defensive rebounding can be an issue (337th in the nation).

Syracuse is 16th in defensive efficiency and just held the top-25 offenses of Gonzaga and Virginia to less than one point per possession.

Worth watching: Will Syracuse freshman Tyler Lydon take a stab at slowing down Brice Johnson? Not many defenders have had much luck lately as the smooth and bouncy 6-10 Johnson has been a shot-making machine. Over the last five games he’s hit 65 percent and produced three consecutive double-doubles. Lydon, a 6-8 center, blocked 11 shots in 61 minutes in Philadelphia, protecting the rim late to help seal each Orange victory. Expecting the same success against a wily senior like Johnson might be unrealistic, but it’s probably Syracuse’s best shot at success. Johnson was 13-of-21 in the two regular season meetings.

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