Here's some news to make the CBS suits smile: last night's title game drew a 16.0 rating, the highest in over a decade, according to Sports Media Watch.
And, really, it shouldn't be too surprising. After all, we had Duke -- essentially the Yankees of college basketball, a team everyone outside of Durham loves to hate -- pitted against a real-life Hoosiers story trying to become the first "real" mid-major (read: a program that doesn't spend a ton) to win the championship in the modern 64-team era. Throw in a thrilling finish (the ratings peaked at 20.3 at 11:30), and you had the perfect storm for a ratings bonanza.
The 16.0 rating represents a marked increase over the past several championship games; up 34% from last year's UNC-Michigan State tilt, 25% from the 2008 Kansas-Memphis showdown, and 18% from the Florida-Ohio State game in 2007. In fact, it was the highest-rated title game since 1999 when...you guessed it, Duke lost another white-knuckler to Rip Hamilton's UConn squad.
So for all of you tin-foil hatters out there who suggested Duke received such a favorable draw this year out of consideration for television ratings, there's no way that's true...right?