In what could be considered some disappointing news for CBS and Turner, ratings for the NCAA Tournament as a whole are down five percent from last year.  However, in what could be considered encouraging news for CBS and Turner, the overall numbers are still the second best since 2006.  Here’s the ratings info from Sports Media Watch

Coverage of the NCAA Tournament averaged a combined 5.7 U.S. rating on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV through Sunday’s games, down 5% from last year (6.0), but up 6% from 2010 coverage on CBS alone (5.4).

Turner Sports did not disclose average viewership for the NCAA Tournament in a Tuesday press release. In addition, CBS/Turner Sports did not disclose individual ratings or viewership for the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight telecast windows.

Given the lack of buzzer beaters this year and real classic games, the small ratings drop is understandable.  Aside from the night when Norfolk State beat Missouri and Lehigh knocked off Duke, the lack of games that went to the wire and truly enthralling storylines has been noticeable.  Expect that to turn around this weekend though.  CBS has been blessed with two outstanding matchups featuring one of the best rivalries in the game (Kentucky-Louisvlle) and two of the most marketable programs in the nation (Ohio State-Kansas) all in the Final Four on Saturday night.  If the games are close, CBS should do even better numbers than last year’s Final Four, which were the best since 2005.

Overall, CBS and Turner should be relatively pleased.  The new tournament television format has been a success in the ratings department versus the old format and a hit with viewers and fans.  Now, if only we can conquer the BCS…