How to Get Your Sports Fix Without March Madness (Or Anything Else) to Watch
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because we all still need sports.
By Matt Foley
In hindsight, it was clearly silly to think that the sports world could stave off an impending pandemic by way of a long-range postgame fist bump. Little more than a week after Connecticut basketball coach Dan Hurley made headlines by choosing not to engage in the traditional handshake line, the coronavirus has swept across America with an unpredictable fury that is shuttering small businesses, closing schools and, of much less consequence, shutting down sports events.
There will be no men’s or women’s March Madness this week, with all college and most pro sports in America — from the NBA to the Masters to darts — on hold. So while you’re holed up at home, how are you supposed to take a break from the grim news and catch a sports fix? Here’s our viewers’ guide.
What’s still on?
One look at a sportsbook reveals that, yes, sports are still being played around the world.
It starts with Mixed Martial Arts. ONE Championship and Bellator have suspended events, but MMA’s big dog, the UFC, held an event on Saturday night, with no fans, after UFC president Dana White spoke with President Donald Trump. UFC has events scheduled on March 21, March 28 and April 11. All can be viewed through ESPN+ or pay-per-view.
Looking for live basketball coupled with a pinch of March Madness nostalgia? Check out the finals of Australia’s National Basketball League on Friday. The Perth Wildcats feature former Providence star Bryce Cotton and Duke national title winner Miles Plumlee (the eldest of Durham’s three Plumlees). The rival Sydney Kings are led by Andrew Bogut, the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick in 2005 out of Utah. The Wildcats have a 2-1 series lead and can clinch the title — in front of no fans — Friday at 6:30 a.m. EST. You can stream the action on Twitch.
Elsewhere, the second leg of the Japan Sumo Association‘s March tournament is ongoing through March 22, without spectators. Stream it here. You can catch playoff hockey in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, with the next round of games beginning on Tuesday. (We’ll let you find your own dodgy streaming option.) For soccer, check out Argentina’s Superliga Cup, contested by the country’s top teams. Boca Juniors are the top squad, with River Plate not far behind. You can watch on DirecTV or stream via FuboTV.
And you didn’t think bowlers were tough? Think again. The Professional Bowling Association World Series of Bowling rolls on. Stateside, no less! The WSOB will be played without spectators, but fans can tune in via FloBowling.
Because we’ll all need some college hoops to watch. Give these all-time March Madness classics a replay.
1979 National Championship: Michigan State vs. Indiana State. Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird. Enough said. Watch the full game here.
1982 National Championship: North Carolina vs. Georgetown. When Mike Jordan graduated and MJ was born.
1989 Final Four: Michigan vs. Illinois. Glen Rice and the Wolverines top Nick Anderson, Kenny Battle and the Flying Illini in a thriller that set the stage for the modern game. Watch here.
1992 Elite Eight: Duke vs. Kentucky. The shot heard ’round the world, and the greatest game (arguably) ever played. It’s always worth a look back.
2010 Second Round: Northern Iowa vs. Kansas. Those who watched live will never forget the name Ali Farokhmanesh.
2016 National Championship Game: Villanova vs. North Carolina. Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beater was the only shot more thrilling than the one it answered. An all-time game.
2018 First Round: Loyola vs. Miami. What’s better than an opening-round thriller? One that features a Cinderella that runs all the way to the Final Four. The Ramblers came out of nowhere in 2018, starting with this upset over Miami.
2018 Elite Eight: Michigan vs. Houston. One of the wildest finishes in recent years. Before this buzzer-beater, Swaggy Poole was simply Jordan.
Best Sports Documentaries
The Best That Never Was. A favorite of OZY CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson, this film from ESPN’s 30 for 30 series investigates Marcus Dupree — the biggest, fastest running back in high school history — and how a career ended before it ever truly began. Watch on ESPN+.
Kicking and Screaming. The BBC’s six-part history of English football is available on Hulu. From unregulated back-alley ballgames to the birth of the Premier League, you’ll learn more about the world’s game than you could ever imagine.
The Carter Effect. The coronavirus may have just ended his career, but this 2017 profile of NBA legend Vince Carter covers the entirety of Vinsanity and features interviews with contemporaries like Steve Nash and Tracy McGrady, along with noted Raptors fan Drake. Watch on Netflix.
Team Foxcatcher. Coronavirus just shut down the Team USA Olympic Wrestling trials. Fittingly, this doc also covers a tragedy in the sport. The documentary digs deeper than Steve Carell’s depiction of John du Pont, using family footage to tell the tragic true-crime story of a major wrestling benefactor turned murderer.
The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon. We’re only sort of kidding.