As we all sat transfixed by Saint Peter's and its run to the Elite Eight during the NCAA Tournament, CBS was loving it for one specific reason: ratings.
Saint Peter's win over Purdue from Friday was the highest-rated Sweet 16 game since 2011. It averaged 10.18 million viewers on CBS, edging out a 2014 matchup between Kentucky and Louisville which drew 10.09 million viewers. That win marked the first time a 15-seed had ever reached the Elite Eight.
Those numbers do come with a bit of an asterisk, as the ratings now include out-of-home viewing, where previous years do not. That likely helped put the Peacocks' biggest win over the top ratings-wise.
Friday's Saint Peter's-Purdue matchup scored a blowout ratings win over the Kansas-Providence matchup that was on at the same time. That game only scored 2.65 million viewers on TBS. Perhaps more impressive, it also beat out the UCLA-North Carolina game that followed it on CBS. UCLA vs. UNC drew 8.82 million or 15 percent less than Saint Peter's-Purdue.
The Peacocks' Sweet 16 win is now the sixth-highest rated basketball game over the past two years. Pretty remarkable stuff from a tiny school in Jersey City.
Saint Peter's run and the subsequent ratings proves one thing: people love a college basketball underdog story, even more than watching blue bloods match up against each other.