A scheduling shift might have helped fuel a big increase in viewership for the women's Final Four.
The two-game overnight cable rating average from Sunday's games on ESPN was 2.4, up 26 percent from 2002, when the Final Four
opened on Friday.
Game 1, Tennessee's victory over Duke, had a 2.1 overnight cable rating, up 41 percent from last year's Oklahoma-Duke. Game 2,
Connecticut's victory over Texas, drew a 2.8, up 17 percent from last year's UConn-Tennessee.
In Hartford, Conn., the Huskies' game was the No. 1-rated cable program of the year and ranked fourth overall among TV shows,
trailing only the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl pregame show, and the Feb. 17 episode of the reality show "Joe Millionaire.''
The overnight ratings measure the country's 55 biggest markets. National ratings won't be available until Tuesday.
Prior to Tuesday night's national championship game (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), ESPN Classic will air three previous Tennessee-Connecticut matchups. At 1 p.m. ET, viewers can relive Tennessee's 72-71 win over Connecticut in February 2000 in Storrs, Conn., which was the Huskies' only loss that season. The 1995 NCAA title game, which UConn won, will be shown at 3 p.m. ET, followed by the 1996 national semifinal, a Tennessee win overtime, at 5 p.m. ET.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.