At first glance, last Saturday afternoon might have seemed like a typical Saturday in March, with Kentucky and Duke facing off in the NCAA Tournament on CBS. The only difference? This game wasn’t live. Instead, it was the classic matchup between the Wildcats and Blue Devils from a different era — the 1992 Regional Final. For those who don’t remember, that’s the game where Duke’s Christian Laettner hit a legendary game-winner over future Arkansas coach John Pelphrey as the game clock hit 0:00.
There are some live sports to be found on TV these days, of course. Some horse tracks are still running, like Oaklawn Park (albeit without fans). And NFL free agency is in full swing, too. But, if you need the swishes of the net and the roar that follows a touchdown, here’s a guide to some football and basketball you can find onscreen to get you through this peculiar time in sports history.
College basketball on CBS. CBS is showing classic NCAA games, which is the closest thing we’ll get to March Madness this year. On Sunday, it will show classic games like Villanova vs. Georgetown (1985), Arizona vs. Kentucky (1997) and Butler vs. Duke (2010). For the full schedule, go here.
CBS Sports Network. CBS Sports Network is showing a full week of classic games, including UMBC’s historic defeat of Virginia in 2018 (airing at midnight on Thursday). Check out the full schedule here.
Classic NBA Games. If you want something close to live sports, you can watch classic games on NBA TV. On Saturday, for instance, it will show the entire 2012 NBA Finals in which LeBron James and the Heat defeat the Boston Celtics in seven games. Check the full NBATV schedule here.
NBA League Pass. The NBA is also making its subscription service NBA League Pass free until April 22. League Pass offers an archive of all games from the 2019-2020 season, as well as classic games you can watch on-demand. Learn more here.
NFL Network. Catch some games from the past season as well as classic Super Bowls on the NFL Network. Here’s the full schedule.
SEC Network. Missing SEC football? The SEC Network has games from last season as well as the “SEC Storied” documentary series. Find the full schedule here.
ESPN networks. The ESPN networks have a variety of sports shows, games from last season and NFL draft previews. Find the full schedule here.
NFL Draft. The NFL Draft will take place April 23-25 and will be broadcast live in primetime on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Find more NFL Draft information here.
“Hoosiers” (1986). If there’s a classic basketball movie, this is it, as tiny Hickory High plays the role of the quintessential underdog. ($2.99-$3.99 on most streaming services.)
“White Men Can’t Jump” (1992). The 1990s were great for basketball movies, and this one stands out as Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson form an unconventional basketball duo. ($2.99 on Redbox, $3.99 in HD on Amazon and other streaming services.)
“Blue Chips” (1994). Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway join Nick Nolte in this film about a college basketball coach who breaks the rules to get ahead. (Free with ads on Crackle, $2.99 on Amazon and other streaming services.)
“The Blind Side” (2009). The story of Michael Oher, who rose from poverty to become a college All-American and a first-round NFL draft pick with the help of a loving family. (Rent for $3.99 on Amazon, YouTube and other streaming services.)
“Remember the Titans” (2000). Based on a true story, an African-American high school coach leads his team in their first season as a racially integrated squad. (Available on Disney+, $2.99 on Amazon and other streaming services.)
“Rudy” (1993). Told he was too small to play, a college football player overcomes the odds and pursues his dream of playing for Notre Dame. (Free with ads on The Roku Channel, $2.99-$3.99 on Amazon and most streaming services).
“Friday Night Lights” (2004). Based on the Odessa, Texas, football team, this movie profiles an economically depressed town and the Permian Panthers football team. Based on the book by H.G. Bissinger. (Rent for $2.99 on Redbox, $3.99 on streaming most services.)
“Hoop Dreams.” This award-winning film chronicles the lives of two aspiring high school basketball players (William Gates and Arthur Agee) as they fight against the odds to achieve their dreams. Agee went on to play college basketball at Arkansas State. (Available on HBO Go; rent for $2.99 on Amazon, YouTube or Google Play.)
“Guru of Go.” The unbelievable story of Loyola Marymount, which rose to college basketball prominence before a star player’s tragic demise. (ESPN+)
“Bad Boys.” The Detroit Pistons dominated basketball with a punishing style all their own. (ESPN+)
“Rodman.” If you like the Pistons (or even if you don’t), it’s hard to take your eyes off star rebounder Dennis Rodman, whose life has spanned an unbelievable trail of highs and lows from small-town Oklahoma to North Korea. (ESPN+)
“The Best There Never Was.” This documentary details the forgotten story of Marcus Dupree, the star running back from Mississippi who demonstrated his brilliance in a brief career at the University of Oklahoma. (ESPN+)
“Pony Excess.” The SMU scandal of the 1980s resulted in the harshest penalty in college football history. (ESPN+)
“Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL.” The story of the rise and fall of the USFL, an upstart football league that included many players who later starred in the NFL. (ESPN+)
TV Series: Football
“Coach” (1989-1997). Arkansas’s Jerry van Dyke stars alongside Craig T. Nelson in this 1990s series about a college football team in Minnesota. (Purchase on Amazon for $14.99/season.)
“Ballers” (2015-2019). Retired NFL player Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) transitions to life off the field as a financial advisor. (Available on HBO Go.)
“Friday Night Lights” (2006-2011). Just like the book and movie of the same name, this series focuses on a high school football team in Texas. (Available on Hulu, purchase on Amazon for $19.99/season.)
“Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” by Jack McCallum. (Available at CALS in hard copy or e-book, $11.99 on Kindle on Amazon.)
“Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association,” by Terry Pluto. ($13.99 on Kindle on Amazon.)
“The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds that Changed Basketball,” by Gene Wojciehowski. ($8.99 on Kindle on Amazon.)
“Bootlegger’s Boy,” by Barry Switzer. This autobiography tells the story of Barry Switzer, who was born to a bootlegger in Crossett and went on to become one of the winningest college football coaches of all-time.
“Carry the Rock: Race, Football and the Soul of an American City,” by Jay Jennings. Little Rock native Jay Jennings goes inside a season with the Little Rock Central High School football team as the 50th anniversary of the school desegregation crisis approaches. (Available at CALS in hard copy only, $11.99 on Kindle on Amazon.)
“Horns, Hogs and Nixon Coming: Texas vs. Arkansas in Dixie’s Last Stand,” by Terry Frei. This book details the story of the Big Shootout between the Razorbacks and Longhorns in the 1969 “Game of the Century.” ($12.99 for Kindle on Amazon.)
Looking for a long read? Check out the Sports Illustrated archive, and these pieces in particular:
“Great Scott!,” by Hank Hersch, for Sports Illustrated. Revisit Scotty Thurman’s game-winning shot in the 1994 National Championship game in this piece from April 20, 1994.
“How to Become an American,” for Sports Illustrated. Sports Illustrated visits Western Arkansas to tell the story of the Hmong community and high school football in the small town of Magazine.
“Friend and Foe,” by Ron Fimrite for Sports Illustrated. In 1995, Sports Illustrated explored the relationship of legendary coaches Frank Broyles of Arkansas and Darrell Royal of Texas.