Weekend ratings breakdown: NCAA Tournament opening weekend best in 23 years

USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Puck the Media's Weekend Ratings Breakdown. Every Monday, we'll analyze the ratings for all the weekend sports telecasts on the major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC). You can find the original numbers at Sports Business Daily (subscription required).

Saturday, March 23

12 p.m. ET - NCAA Tournament: Michigan vs. VCU (CBS): 3.9

12 p.m. ET - World Figure Skating Championships (NBC): 0.9

2 p.m. ET - X Games Tignes (ABC): 0.5

2 p.m. ET - Golf Central Live (NBC): 0.6

2:30 p.m. ET - NCAA Tournament: Michigan State vs. Memphis (CBS): 5.2

2:30 p.m ET - PGA: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Third Round (NBC): 2.4

5:15 p.m. ET - NCAA Tournament: Louisville vs. Colorado State (CBS): 4.7

8 p.m. ET - NCAA Tournament: Marquette vs. Butler (CBS): 4.6

Analysis: Pretty much what you'd expect. CBS and Turner are averaging a 6.3 overnight through the first weekend of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, up five percent last year, and the best through this point in the tourney since 1990.

Elsewhere, what is up with this X Games Tignes thing? I've seen it on my channel guide for what feels like a couple of weeks, and though I don't follow it, I'm almost certain the Winter X Games happened this year. Are they branching out? Either way, it tied with a golf equipment show for lowest-rated sports program of the weekend.

Sunday, March 24

12 p.m. ET - NCAA Tournament: Ohio State vs. Iowa State (CBS): 5.4

12 p.m. ET - U.S. Alpine Championships (NBC): 0.8

1 p.m. ET - Golf Digest Equipment Insider (NBC): 0.5

2 p.m. ET - Golf Central Live (NBC): 0.7

2:30 p.m. ET - PGA: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Final Round (NBC): 1.7

3 p.m. ET - NCAA Tournament: Indiana vs. Temple (CBS): 7.2

3 p.m. ET - NASCAR: Auto Club Speedway (Fox): 4.5

5:15 p.m. ET - NCAA Tournament: Kansas vs. North Carolina (CBS): 7.3

Analysis: We'll discuss the tournament again in a second, but first, the other thing to draw big ratings this weekend: NASCAR. With the Arnold Palmer Invitational on rain delay all Sunday, NASCAR rose 32 percent from last year's comparable race (3.4 in 2012). They definitely got a big bump from golf being postponed, as Tiger Woods was in the lead at the Arnie Palms.

The NCAA's drew a huge number across four networks on Sunday. In the exclusive early timeslots on CBS, Iowa State-Ohio State was up 26 percent from last year (4.3), while Indiana-Temple went up 20 percent from 2012 (6.0), while tying for the best rating in the broadcast window since 2006. In primetime, from 5:15-9:15 p.m. ET, CBS, TBS and TNT drew an 11.8 rating, best in the window since 1991, up 26 percent from 2012 (9.4). Finally, for the late games (8 p.m. - 12:15 a.m. ET), TBS, TNT and TruTV drew a 6.5, up two percent from last year.

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