NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — That’s a lot of eyeballs.

Even without an undefeated team, the NCAA title game has earned its highest preliminary television rating in 18 years.

Duke’s 68-63 comeback win over Wisconsin on Monday night on CBS drew a 17.1 overnight rating and 27 share, the best since an 18.0/28 in 1997 when Arizona upset defending champion Kentucky in overtime, CBS and Turner Sports said Tuesday. The rating was up 33 percent from the 12.9/21 for Connecticut’s win over Kentucky last year.

The Badgers had defeated the previously unbeaten Wildcats in the semifinals, dashing what could have been a record audience for a potential Kentucky-Duke title game. The interest in Duke vs. Wisconsin still proved high, riding the momentum of a tournament that drew strong ratings all the way through.

Ratings represent the percentage of U.S. homes with televisions tuned to a program, while shares represent the percentage of TVs in use at the time. Overnights measure the country’s largest markets.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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