When they say all eyes were on Michigan State taking on Marquette in March Madness last weekend, they mean it. The Spartans pulled in the largest audiences of the NCAA Tournament’s opening rounds.
Sunday’s (March 19) Michigan State-Marquette NCAA men’s basketball tournament second round game got a 5.9 rating and 10.91 million viewers on CBS. The Spartans, a 7-seed, and 2-seeded Marquette went head-to-head for the Sweet 16, and an upset ensued. The Spartans scored a towering nine-point win over Marquette to move on for the second time in the past four tournaments. The game ranked as the most-watched of the tournament so far. It’s common for the late Sunday CBS game to be the most-viewed, but it’s still an exciting showing.
The combined telecast for that window grossed an 8.3 and 15.42 million across CBS, TBS and TNT.
If you’re wondering why they call Tom Izzo Mr. March, now you get it. Even though the Spartans were underdogs to even get into the top 32 teams, they defied odds and made it into the Sweet 16. The fact that people all over America were watching in big numbers shows that Michigan State is simply a brand when it comes to basketball. Everyone loves to see the underdog win, and that’s what America witnessed last weekend.
Now, the Spartans are somehow 2-point favorites over Kansas State, a 3-seed, going into Thursday’s (March 23) game. Michigan State will take on against Kansas State on Thursday in the Sweet 16. That game will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Here are some fun facts. The Spartans have the sixth most all-time Final Four appearances with 10 (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2019). They also have the winningest basketball team in the Big Ten under Izzo. If the Spartans make it to the Final Four, it will be the first time since 2019, and boy, will it be extra sweet.
Sunday's Michigan State-Marquette game drew 10.9 million viewers on CBS, making it the most watched NCAA Tournament game of the first weekend.
— Kevin Pauga (@KevinPauga) March 21, 2023