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NCAA title game draws most TV viewers in 18 years

NEW YORK (AP) — Even without an undefeated team, the NCAA title game drew its largest TV audience in 18 years.

Duke’s 68-63 comeback win over Wisconsin on Monday night on CBS averaged 28.3 million viewers, the most since 1997, when Arizona upset defending champion Kentucky in overtime, CBS and Turner Sports said Tuesday. That’s up 33 percent from the 21.3 million for Connecticut’s victory over Kentucky last year.

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

The games across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV averaged 11.3 million viewers, the most since 1993 and up 8 percent from a year ago.

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