UCF's overtime loss at Wichita State on Thursday night was watched by 535,000 viewers on ESPN, which is easily the most watched UCF basketball game of the 2017-2018 season.
The previous high was UCF's loss at Wichita State on January 25th, which had 268,000 viewers on ESPN2. The Wichita State-UCF game will end up as the 5th-most watched American Conference regular season game.
This tells you a couple of things.
First, being on the Mothership, ESPN, is still a big deal. More people watch ESPN than any cable sports network by a wide margin, which includes more viewers and more homes than ESPN2 and ESPNU.
Second, Wichita State is a TV draw for the conference. Consider the top 5 most-watched American Athletic Conference games all include Wichita State, once Sunday's Cincinnati-Wichita State game that aired on CBS with American Conference regular season championship on the line is announced. Wichita State will be in 6 of the top 7 most watched American Athletic Conference regular-season games, with the Februrary 22nd UConn-Cincinnati game being the most watched non-Wichita State game of the season.
|1||2/30/18||Wichita State at UConn||CBS||994,000|
|2||2/18/18||Wichita State at Cincinnati||ESPN||758,000|
|3||2/24/18||Wichita State at SMU||ESPN||591,000|
|4||3/1/18||Wichita State at UCF||ESPN||535,000|
|5||2/22/18||UConn at Cincinnati||ESPN||447,000|
|6||2/1/18||Wichita State at Temple||ESPN2||409,000|
So if anyone still questioned Mike Aresco's decision to add Wichita State to The American, guess what: He was right to make the move, as the conference has benefited from adding Wichita State, and UCF has benefited from it by getting an ESPN and ESPN2 game as a result of playing Wichita State, which brought eyeballs to the UCF Basketball program.
While it is uncertain if UCF and Wichita State will play once or twice next year, one thing is for sure: With UCF possibly returning most of this season's team with Aubrey Dawkins, Tacko Fall and BJ Taylor, UCF-Wichita State figures to be a national TV game once again on ESPN, ESPN2, or who knows, maybe CBS.
Speaking of CBS, they will carry the upcoming American Athletic Conference Semifinals and Final at Amway Center on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. CBS' main broadcast team of Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will call the action. Adam Amin and John Thompson III will be part of ESPN's early round coverage of The American Tournament. Here below is TV schedule below:
|Thursday, March 8th|
|Noon||(9) SMU vs. (8)UConn||ESPNU||Adam Amin & John Thompson III|
|2 p.m.||(5) Memphis vs. (12) USF||ESPNU||Adam Amin & John Thompson III|
|7 p.m.||(7) Temple vs. (10) Tulane||ESPNU||Kevin Brown & Mark Adams|
|9 p.m.||(6) UCF vs. (11) East Carolina||ESPNU||Kevin Brown & Mark Adams|
|Friday, March 9th|
|Noon||(1) Cincinnati vs. UConn/SMU Winner||ESPN2||Adam Amin & John Thompson III|
|2 p.m.||(4) Tulsa vs. Memphis/USF Winner||ESPN2||Adam Amin & John Thompson III|
|7 p.m.||(2) Wichita St. vs. Temple/Tulane Winner||ESPNU||Kevin Brown & Mark Adams|
|9 p.m.||(3) Houston vs UCF/ECU Winner||ESPNU||Kevin Brown & Mark Adams|
|Saturday, March 10th|
|1 p.m.||Semifinal - Winners of Afternoon Sessions||CBS||Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson|
|3:30 p.m.||Semifinal - Winners of Evening Session||CBS||Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson|
|Sunday, March 11th|
|3:30 p.m.||AAC Championship||CBS||Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson|