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Providence-Villanova matchup records highest BIG EAST MBB rating ever on FOX

Not only was the game entertaining, it also set a ratings record.

The first Villanova-Providence encounter of 2016 wasn't just downright entertaining to the very end. As we learned on Thursday, it caught the attention of a lot of eyeballs.

FOX Sports PR revealed on Thursday that the matchup between the Friars and Wildcats is now known as the highest-rated BIG EAST matchup in FOX Sports history. Per FOX Sports, the game averaged 905,000 viewers on FOX TV, outdoing last year's Villanova-Marquette matchup that drew 721,000 viewers on FOX TV.

The full press release can be viewed here: (Emphasis mine)

Providence-Villanova Posts Record BIG EAST Audience on FOX

Not even Winter Storm Jonas, the blizzard that battered the East Coast last weekend, could chill the television audience on Sunday (Jan. 24) when No. 4 Villanova hosted No. 16 Providence in Philadelphia.

Despite the challenge of being postponed from Saturday due to severe weather, the game on Sunday averaged 905,000 viewers on FOX broadcast network and is now FOX Sports' most-watched BIG EAST men's college basketball game (featuring two conference teams), regardless of network, since the package launched during the 2013-14 season.

The prior record of 721,000 was set last season and featured Villanova at Marquette, also on FOX (2/21/15). Only one other men's college basketball game on FOX has ever attracted a bigger audience than Providence-Villanova, and that was Duke at St. John's last season, which resulted in Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski winning his 1,000th career game (2.2 million, 1/25/15).