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March Madness tips off with these Android apps

by Kristen Nicole

Work? What’s that? It’s never been easier to lose work productivity during March Madness, thanks to your Android device and a slew of NCAA-ready apps. This year is monumental, in that the NCAA has launched March Madness Live which offers mobile game video streaming once you've paid a one-time $3.99 in-app fee. But there’s plenty of other apps to keep you abreast of game scores and to manage your bracket. Stay ahead of the game with these Android apps.

NCAA March Madness Live (Free, $3.99 for video streaming)

The official NCAA March Madness Live app, developed by Turner Sports in association with CBS and the NCAA, is available on Android this year. For free, it provides scoring and news updates, bracket creators, and an assortment of alerts which will notify you of potential upsets, close games with less than five minutes remaining and games that go into overtime. For a one-time $3.99 in-app purchase, it will also live stream all 67 games that take place during the tournament. It includes live chat and the ability to post bracket info to Facebook and Twitter.

Sporting News NCAA Basketball (Free)

One of the top news apps for March Madness, the Sporting News NCAA Basketball app brings you the latest developments in college hoops. There’s a steady stream of news updates, scores, video clips and team standings for Division I highlights. You can customize the app to select the teams and conferences you want to follow, and get alerts for news updates. Filter through news articles by source, view related tweets and share articles across Facebook and Twitter. The app is known for its simple design and navigable layout, making quick score-checking an easy affair.

ESPN Bracket Bound 2012 (Free)

As you can tell from this app’s title, ESPN Bracket Bound 2012 has been updated for this year’s games. The specialized ESPN channel comes with breaking news, video highlights and the featured Bracketology breakdown by Joe Lunardi. The free Android app is updated in near real-time, with an aggregate of ESPN columnists and analysts like Andy Katz and Doug Gottlieb. Personalize Bracket Bound with the teams you’re following, getting the news most relevant to you. There’s some live game streaming for WatchESPN users, and a collective of tweets from the ESPN family.

Yahoo! Sportacular (Free)

The Yahoo! Sportacular app follows a range of sports developments, including the latest from the NCAA. Get immediate scores and stats for your favorite teams, and put a widget on your home screen for at-a-glance updates. The idea with Yahoo! Sportacular is to give the quick and dirty notes you need, as well as in-depth details on the game. Get a scoring summary, influential players and team records, with additional access to more stats. The play-by-play detail is what sets this free app apart, plus top stories from Fox, ESPN and The Sporting News. There’s a social component too, with live polls, Facebook sharing and more.

Sports Illustrated Big Ticket ($0.99)

A picture’s worth a thousand words, and there’s nothing more poignant than capturing the momentum of a tournament game. SI is known for its photography, and you can see this publication’s perspective with its Big Ticket app. All the big sports events are covered, including March Madness. The photos from SI’s award-winning photographers hit the app in near real-time, giving you a very visual way to follow the games.

Bracket Tracker (Free)

This is an app that made the March Madness list last year, and with the expectation that Bracket Tracker will be updated over the weekend, we’re mentioning it again. Like many bracket managers, Bracket Tracker lets you create your own brackets to follow along with the NCAA tournament. From there you can create your own pools or join someone else’s, competing against friends to really up the ante around March Madness. Track team standings, view game times and their results. It’s a social way to enjoy March Madness, and can earn you some bragging rights as well.