Gonzaga and Duke put on an entertaining show last Friday and it wasn’t just for the record crowd of 20,389 fortunate enough to watch the Blue Devils’ 84-81 win inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The game drew 2.8 million viewers on ESPN, with a peak audience of 3.1 million, making it the most-watched regular-season college basketball game on any network since March 9, 2019, according to ESPN.
That’s particularly impressive considering the game didn’t tip off until after 10:30 p.m. on the East Coast.
The fifth-ranked Blue Devils edged the top-ranked Zags in a matchup of unbeatens and perennial powers. Duke’s largest lead was nine points with 8:35 left in the first half. Gonzaga’s biggest lead was four with 8:41 remaining in the second half.
Duke moved up to No. 1 in Monday’s poll, but loss to Ohio State on Tuesday. Third-ranked Gonzaga faces No. 16 Alabama on Saturday in Seattle.
By comparison, third-ranked Gonzaga’s 89-87 win over No. 1 Duke in the 2018 Maui Invitational championship was viewed by 2.4 million.
The Zags’ loss to Baylor in last season’s national championship game averaged 16.92 million viewers on CBS, the most watched nonfootball sporting event since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series (23.22 million).
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