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This weekend’s NCAA Final Four will be live-streamed in virtual reality

This weekend’s NCAA Final Four will be live-streamed in virtual reality


VR madness

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA has announced that this weekend's Final Four and National Championship games will be live-streamed in virtual reality. Fans who own a Samsung Gear VR will be able to watch each game from a courtside perspective for free by downloading the NCAA March Madness Live app in the Oculus Store. This is the second big move into virtual reality by the NCAA this month — just a few weeks ago, the association partnered with Fox Sports to live-stream a handful of Big East Tournament games.

As with the Big East Tournament streams, the parties involved this time around are using the term "virtual reality" a bit liberally. The streamed video will only occupy 180 degrees — not a full 360-degree sphere. Also, if you don't have a Gear VR, the NCAA is making a 2D version of 180-degree stream available on the web, and 360-degree highlight footage will be posted to the NCAA March Madness page on Facebook.

That said, it sounds like CBS, Turner Sports, and the NCAA are at least trying to add some flair to the experience, which is good because live-streamed spherical content can still be a bit rough on the eyes. The streams will include real-time commentary from the TBS broadcasting team, and fans will have the option to view a virtual scoreboard for each game complete with live statistics. There will even be an option to view the full tournament bracket in VR, so you can revisit your awful office pool picks in a whole new dimension.