Despite just one day of upsets, NCAA tournament TV ratings essentially matched last year’s numbers, which were the highest for the event since 1991.
Ratings for the round of 64 (Thursday-Friday) and round of 32 (Saturday-Sunday), averaged a 5.6 fast-national, according to John Ourand of CBS. Only Friday featured a slate of wild upsets – two 15 seeds won, as did a 13 – but several games were close, which likely boosted ratings.
The staggered TV times, now in their second year, also likely helped.
The tournament also turned in the highest-rated cable slot among sporting events. Kansas’ thrilling rally vs. Purdue Sunday night averaged 4.4 million viewers, better than Heat-Bulls and Knicks-Bulls. Those were the only three sports in cable’s top 40.
Indiana’s win vs. VCU on Saturday and Louisville’s Saturday win over New Mexico both averaged about 3 million viewers.
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.
Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.
McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.
The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.
News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.
LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.
Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.
Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.
Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.