Sports Today: Basketball ratings, Friday night Big Ten football development, Ohio State updates and more


Revisiting a couple of past themes this morning: Big Ten Friday night football and Connecticut’s impact on the popularity of women’s basketball. 

The ratings are in for South Carolina’s national championship win over Mississippi State. 

ESPN sent out a glowing press release muddling TV viewers with streaming numbers, but Sports Media Watch has better perspective

South Carolina-Mississippi State scored a 2.3 final rating and 3.8 million viewers in Sunday’s Women’s NCAA Tournament National Championship on ESPN, up 21% in ratings and 29% in viewership from UConn-Syracuse last year (1.9, 3.0M) and up 15% and 24% respectively from UConn-Notre Dame in 2015 (2.0, 3.1M), both of which aired on Tuesday nights. 

And then there’s this: 

The evidence Geno Auriemma’s Huskies are in fact bad for the expansion of popularity of the women’s game (even as the product on the court continually improves) is pretty strong, although I also suspect shifting the Final Four schedule from Saturday-Tuesday to Friday-Sunday had a positive overall effect on the rating. 

The national semifinal ratings were solid (no doubt thanks in large part to the drama in the MSU-UConn nightcap) while the championship game was up even though it was a regional matchup without the team ESPN devotes 90 percent of its promotion/news coverage to. 

RELATED: That viral Geno Auriemma video is old but still great

The championship game works much better on Sunday night as an undercard to the men’s final. It slides right in there for casual fans looking for more basketball after the Saturday national semifinals in the men’s tournament. 

The Tuesday night final always felt an afterthought following the men’s championship game on Monday night… 

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reports two Northwestern football games that were set for Friday nights this fall have been moved to Saturdays. 

Apparently that is because Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald wisely opposes Friday night college football games because they are bad for his team, fans and high school football. 

What a concept! 

Meanwhile, Ohio State’s acquiescence to Jim Delany’s latest moneygrab continues to be a disgrace

RELATED: Ohio high school coaches voice opposition to Big Ten’s Friday night football plan

If you want to know what Delany, the Big Ten commissioner, is planning for the future, you’re probably safe going with the opposite of whatever he came out against yesterday the second it becomes profitable to him… 

RELATED: Ohio State wrong to pick TV partners over high school football

Also in the news today are Amazon getting the rights to stream Thursday night NFL games this fall and the coming of The Masters this weekend

People who aren’t blown away by bad weather in Georgia this weekend will have another way to watch NFL games on Thursday nights without a television… 

If you have been following basketball more than Ohio State spring football over the past couple of weeksUrban Meyer offered a great primer on personnel happenings yesterday

He ran down the entire starting lineup, essentially, and pointed out who is having a strong spring in his estimation. 

Among the notables: Springfield native Demetrius Knox is still in line to start at guard while Wayne graduate Robert Landers is still right in the thick of things in a deep defensive line rotation… 

The Reds are back in action today against the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Brandon Finnegan will start for Cincinnati, where having a catcher who knows what he throws could be very beneficial. 

That’s what I got from an interesting conversation with Tucker Barnhart about how he guided Scott Feldman past some early struggles on Opening Day. 

Check it out!... 

Miami University introduced new women’s basketball coach Megan Duffy yesterday. She is a Chaminade-Julienne graduate who starred at Notre Dame. 

Meanwhile, former Redhawks point guard Michael Weathers reportedly has started looking around for his next school. 

Weathers and twin brother Michael previously announced their intent to transfer after coach John Cooper was fired. 

Cooper has been replaced by Jack Owens, a former Purdue assistant… 

Wright State got some bad news yesterday as star guard Mark Alstork announced he is not only looking into the NBA draft but plans to graduate and potentially transfer. 

The Raiders won 20 games in their first season under coach Scott Nagy, though they weren’t able to do all the things he wanted to do as far as style of play. 

It will be interesting to see how they look when the roster is more of what he wants. 


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