New York The round of 16 drew larger TV audiences than last year, though the NCAA men's Tournament still lags behind what wound up as the worst-rated ever on CBS. Friday night's games drew a 6.3 preliminary national rating and 13 share, up 3 percent from last year. That followed Thursday's jump of 11 percent.
Despite the boosts, the tourney as a whole was averaging a 5.6, down 3 percent from 2000, when the event finished with its lowest overall rating since the network started airing it in 1982.
The first slot Friday when Michigan State beat Gonzaga 77-62 in the South, and Arizona defeated Mississippi in the Midwest drew a 6.5, up from last year's 6.4. The second slot when Illinois topped Kansas 80-64 in the Midwest, and Temple beat Penn State 82-74 in the South drew a 6.2, a 9 percent increase from 2000.