CBS Dunks 9.0 Final Four Rating, Best Since 2005

Ky.-Louisville averages 8.4 overnight; Kan.-OSU scores 9.6 mark
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CBS and Turner Sports's exclusive coverage of the 2012 Final Four was the best with the March Madness marquee event since 2005.

CBS averaged a 9.0 rating/17 share with its telecast of Kentucky's 69-61 over Bluegrass state rival Louisville in the opener, and Kansas' 64-62 come-from-behind win over Ohio State in the nightcap, according to Nielsen overnight date. The two-game average -- the best since a 10.5/19 for Illinois-Louisville and North Carolina-Michigan State in 2005 -- edged past the 8.9/17 for the Butler-VCU and Connecticut-Kentucky matchups in 2011, according to officials at CBS and Turner, which are in the second-year of a $10.8 billion, rights deal for the Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

Kentucky-Louisville averaged an 8.4/17. up 1% from last year's 8.3/17 for the Cinderella national semifinal in which Butler was victorious over VCU. KU's win over OSU delivered a 9.6/17, up 1% from last year's 9.5/17  for UConn's defeat of Kentucky. The 9.6/17 is the best rating in the window since a 10.9/19 in 2005 for North Carolina-Michigan State.

CBS's telecast of the national title tilt between Kentucky and Kansas tips off at 9 p.m. (ET) on April 2.