If only one Top Seed was to make it to the Final Four, the NCAA wanted that #1 seed to be Duke -- the team that genders both love and hate -- as well as TV ratings.
The trend continued this year as the Blue Devils win over West Virginia pulled in more than 16 million viewers.
The 10.0 rating/18 share is the best rating in the window since an 11.4/19 in 2005 (North Carolina-Michigan State). In this era of fractured viewing where so many channel choices have diluted the audience profile, Duke continues to be the only college basketball program that consistently draws double digit ratings.
Duke's win over West Virginia was watched by more viewers than three BCS bowl games (Orange, Sugar and Fiesta).
The first game of the Final Four, with Butler beating Michigan State, earned an average overnight household rating/share of 9.4/20, up 8% versus an 8.7/18 in 2009 (Michigan St.-Connecticut). This is the highest rating in the window since another Cinderella team reached the semis in 2006 (Florida-George Mason).
The two games combined for a 9.7 rating and over 15 million viewers. It will be interesting to see just what tonight's game pulls, since many believe having Butler in the final game will limit the amount of casual fans who will turn in.