NCAA Men’s National Championship Schedule, Location, How to Watch

NCAA Championship, March Madness Final Four (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
NCAA Championship, March Madness Final Four (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

March Madness has reached its finale, and a pair of unlikelies will battle in the Lone Star State. Here is a handy guide that answers the when, where and how to watch for this year’s National Championship.

When I was a kid, my father showed me to a movie called Rocky. I’m sure you’ve seen it; no-name boxer takes the World Heavyweight Champion the distance in a split decision. Aside from some of the dialogue (hey, it was 1976), it is one of the finest pieces of cinema and illustrates part of what is great about sports – the underdog.

Sports media is filled with underdog tales, some fictional (i.e. Field of Dreams), others rooted in reality, such as Miracle on Ice, The Blind Side or Glory Road.

It’s said that life imitates art, and this year’s National Championship game is proof. Monday night, two teams few picked to be here – San Diego State and Connecticut – battle for college basketball’s top prize.

Just how unlikely is this championship matchup? According to ESPN, 0.004% of the nearly 20 million brackets picked the Aztecs, a No. 5 seed, and the Huskies, a No. 4 seed, to play for the title. That’s roughly 7,200 brackets. Preseason, SDSU were +6600 to win it all; UConn’s odds were even longer, +8000.

Sure, it is hard to consider the Huskies an underdog. Connecticut was the only team in this year’s Final Four to have made it that far previously, having won four National Championships since 1999. Another puts them in rarefied air, joining UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Indiana as the only programs with at least five. Hardly underdog territory.

Yet the fact is, UConn opened the season unranked. They sputtered midway through the season. Not only did they lose in the BIG EAST Championship, they finished fourth in their conference. All of that is moot now, considering UConn has dominated its way to the final game, leading by at least 18 points in all five prior games and trailing for less than 60 seconds the entire postseason.

San Diego State has taken a much different path to get here, one filled with nail-biting finishes instead of beatdowns. SDSU is the first team in tournament history to win both their Elite Eight and national semifinal games by a point apiece.

Thanks to Lamont Butler’s last-second heroics on Saturday night, the Aztecs squeaked past fellow upstart Florida Atlantic to reach the National Championship game. This March Madness has seen Brian Dutcher’s team reach the Elite Eight, Final Four and now championship – all program firsts.

With their rugged defense and never-say-die attitude, the Aztecs will have to make more history come Monday evening if they want to call themselves National Champions. In the history of the NCAA Tournament, only 13 of the 97 all-time Final Four participants have won it all in their maiden voyage and none have achieved that since 1999, when an upstart from Storrs, Connecticut did it.

National Championship schedule and how to watch

No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 4 UConn – Monday, April 3, 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS

Monday night’s National Championship is carried by CBS, which means if you have cable, you’ll get the game. However, you can still watch even if you’re away from your TV. Download the March Madness Live app in your phone or tablet’s application store, or visit the March Madness Live website, log in with your cable provider and enjoy more of the madness Monday night is sure to offer.

You can also watch the game for free on with a trial if you’re a new customer.

Where is the Men’s National Championship being played?

Monday’s championship game will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, also home to this year’s Final Four. Houston has hosted the National Championship game four prior times, most recently in 2016, a game that ended on a Villanova buzzer-beater to lift the Wildcats over North Carolina.

NRG Stadium, formerly known as Reliant Stadium, is home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, college football’s annual Texas Bowl, among other events.

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