The Tennessee tilt turned out to be tops.
ESPN dunked its most-watched college basketball game ever with its coverage of the Tennessee-Memphis battle Saturday, Feb. 23. The game in which the then No. 2 Volunteers edged the then-top-ranked Tigers, 66-62, averaged a 3.8 household rating, translating into3.63 million households and 5.28 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
The primetime telecast was the network’s highest-rated men’s college basketball affairt since the Dec. 22, 1998 game between Kentucky and Duke drew a 3.9 household ratings average.
The Tennessee-Memphis matchup also stands as the most-viewed regular-season men’s college basketball on broadcast or cable since March 6, 2005, when CBS notched 3.98 million households for Duke at North Carolina.
Tennessee’s reign in the top spot will be brief: it lost to Vanderbilt on Feb. 26.