04/07/2015 11:41 EDT | Updated 06/07/2015 05:59 EDT

Even without undefeated team, NCAA title game earns highest preliminary TV rating in 18 years

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Even without an undefeated team, the NCAA title game earned its highest preliminary television rating in 18 years.

Duke's 68-63 comeback win over Wisconsin on Monday night on CBS drew a 17.1 overnight rating and 27 share, the best since an 18.0/28 in 1997 when Arizona upset defending champion Kentucky in overtime, CBS and Turner Sports said Tuesday. The rating was up 33 per cent from the 12.9/21 for Connecticut's win over Kentucky last year.

The Badgers had defeated the previously unbeaten Wildcats in the semifinals, dashing what could have been a record audience for a potential Kentucky-Duke title game. The interest in Duke vs. Wisconsin still proved high, riding the momentum of a tournament that drew strong ratings all the way through.

Ratings represent the percentage of U.S. homes with televisions tuned to a program, while shares represent the percentage of TVs in use at the time. Overnights measure the country's largest markets.