Make sense of March Madness with these iPhone apps

Mar 14, 2011
Misc

The sound of buzzer beaters and primal Gus Johnson screams are filling the air, and that can only mean one thing: March Madness is upon us. While the selection of college basketball-related iPhone apps can be somewhat poor from April through February, the same can’t be said for March. Here’s a starting lineup of apps […]

The sound of buzzer beaters and primal Gus Johnson screams are filling the air, and that can only mean one thing: March Madness is upon us. While the selection of college basketball-related iPhone apps can be somewhat poor from April through February, the same can’t be said for March.

Here’s a starting lineup of apps to help immerse you in the sports world’s most exiting tournament, the NCAA Tournament. From live feeds, to bracket advice, to highlights, the following apps will make sure you don’t miss a minute of the madness.

NCAA March Madness On Demand

Turner Sports’ NCAA March Madness On Demand can make a strong case as being the best sports app in the App Store – it’s a free download that allows you to watch every NCAA Tournament game for free, no strings attached. This year’s release even throws in a few new features, including a “My Channels” section that will let you know what channel a game is on (in case you don’t want to watch on your phone), a NCAA.com bracket challenge manager and Game Center for the iPad version of the app. Video is streamed over either Wi-Fi or 3G connections. The only downside is that this app is only available for the tournament, not the entire season. But now is not the time to complain about that, instead it’s time to download this jewel of an app.

Yahoo! Tourney ’11

Developed by Citizen Sports (the company that was acquired by Yahoo! after bringing to market the game-changing app Sportacular), Yahoo! Tourney ’11 is a universal app that lets you play Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em wherever you travel on your iPhone or iPad. Pick your team, track your bracket, keep up to date on the latest news, and share and chat with friends in your pool with this free and fully comprehensive app.

ESPN Bracket Bound 2011

The free ESPN Bracket Bound 2011 allows you to fill out and follow up to 10 ESPN Tournament Challenge brackets, but also provides video highlights and analysis to help guide you through all the maddening moments in March. There’s a premium version of the app also, which provides things like bracket advice and video alerts for an additional $4.99. Even if you decide that the premium content isn’t needed, the free version of Bracket Bound is both a handy app and a nice complement to March Madness On Demand.

Related: Great sports iPhone games for your 2011 wish list

NCAA Fan Zone – March Madness

It may not be an original idea, but NCAA Fan Zone – March Madness seems like a good one, on the surface at least. Fan Zone is a free app and the latest to try to combine social networking with following sports on your phone – something that has been tried plenty of times before with varying degrees of success. Certainly this app from AT&T is easy to use, and within a couple of touches you post a message under a number of categories, from a specific game, to a conference tournament, to rankings. Fan Zone fails where so many similar apps do, though, in that it seems so focused on the social networking aspect that it leaves out important aspects that hardcore sports fans crave. So while parts of an app such as Bracket Bound may look dry in comparison, at least it has all the information you need. You can’t really say the same for Fan Zone, and while this is undoubtedly a cool idea and one you should check out due to its free price tag, it’s also an idea that could use some tweaking.

ACC Sports – Official Application of The Atlantic Coast Conference

For many years the Atlantic Coast Conference was unquestionably home to the best college basketball in the country. While Duke and North Carolina are still no slouches, the conference has been surpassed in recent years by the Big East Conference. ACC fans can take solace is having the better conference app, though, in ACC Sports – Official Application of The Atlantic Coast Conference (on sale for $0.99). While the app includes football and women’s basketball, the highlight here is its men’s basketball coverage. As is typical of apps like this, you can easily customize it with your favorite team and find all the necessary scores and news you crave. It also boasts video highlights and – heads up for next year – allows you to stream select live games. The Big East ($1.99) may get more teams in the tournament, but app aficionados agree the ACC has the better app.

Men’s Bracket 2011/PocketBracket: March College Basketball Tournament

If you’re not interested in being tied to ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, fret not, you have plenty of other bracket options. Men’s Bracket 2011 ($0.99) is both a complete and well-thought out app that allows you to fill out your bracket on the phone and create private groups, with snazzy features such as full schedules and head-to-head comparisons. PocketBracket: March College Basketball Tournament ($0.99) is a good-looking alternative to Men’s Bracket 2011. It earns points for ease-of-use and includes many of the same features of the aforementioned app, with added bonuses such as the SmartPick feature and the ability to create as many brackets as you see fit.

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