Texas-UNC: ESPN's Top Early-Season College Hoops Telecast Since 2006

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The 38,000-plus at Cowboys Stadium weren't the only ones entertained by No. 2 Texas' 103-90 victory over No. 10 North Carolina last Saturday.

The Dec. 19 contest, the first basketball game at Jerry Jones's new stadium, which will host the 2010 NBA All-Star Game weekend, averaged 2.95 million viewers, a 2.4 household rating and some 2.36 million household for ESPN, according to Nielsen data.

The telecast was the sports programmer's most-viewed men's college basketball game in the fourth quarter since the Nov. 29, 2006 contest between Ohio State and UNC dunked 3.02 million watchers, and the Dec. 18, 2001 game pitting Kentucky vs. Duke in the Jimmy V Classic averaged 2.54 million households.

ESPN's coverage marked the highest-rated and most-viewed men's college basketball telecast this season across all networks, both cable broadcast.

Overall, men's college basketball coverage on ESPN has posted increases of 10% in viewers (1.24 million from 1.13 million), 8% among households (987,000 from 918,000) and 11% in rating (a 1.0 from a 0.9) through the same point last year, according to Nielsen data.