No Reason for Duke’s Devils to be Blue: They’re America’s Favorite College Basketball Team for the Sixth Year Running

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Well, the last “perfect bracket” fell last weekend (bye-bye, Buckeyes) and the final sixteen teams are prepping for the remaining rounds of this bout of college basketball madness which grips us every March. Duke’s Blue Devils are among the teams still in the running, but win or lose they already have at least one victory under their belts: for the sixth year in a row, Duke is America’s Favorite Men’s College Basketball team. Also readying themselves for the next round after playing their way past Hampton and Cincinnati in the last couple of rounds, the Kentucky Wildcats return to the No. 2 position after a No. 3 showing last year. And UNC’s North Carolina Tar Heels round out the top three, dropping from the No. 2 spot last year to No. 3 for 2015.

Filling out the rest of the top five favorite college basketball teams are the Connecticut Huskies, Rising to the No. 4 spot this year after being No. 8 in 2014, and the Ohio State Buckeyes, who moved down one spot this year to No. 5.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,244 adults, of whom 588 follow college basketball, surveyed online between March 11 and 16, 2015.

The UCLA Bruins stay in the top ten, rising one spot to No. 6 for 2015, while the Michigan Wolverines drop two spots to No. 7. Meanwhile, the Michigan State Spartans and the Wisconsin Badgers come in at No.’s 8 and 10, respectively, after a 9th place tie last year. And in this year’s No. 9 position, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish return to the top 10 for the first time since 2004.

Two teams drop off the favorite men’s college basketball team top ten this year: Syracuse, which was No. 6 in 2014, and Wichita State, which was part of the aforementioned 9th place tie last year.

Women’s College Basketball

Connecticut is once again America’s Favorite Women’s College Basketball team this year, while Tennessee repeats in the No. 2 spot and Duke rises one spot to No. 3. UNC and Notre Dame are in a tie for 4th place after ranking in the No. 5 and No. 10 positions, respectively, last year.

Ohio State repeats at No. 6, followed by a three-way tie for 7th place between Baylor (dropping 4 spots from last year), Kentucky (rising three positions) and Stanford (dropping one spot from 8th place in 2014). Rounding out the top 10 is UCLA, making the list for the first time since 2010.

Dropping off the women’s top ten list are Michigan State (last year’s No. 7), Illinois (No. 9 last year) and Maryland (which shared the 10th spot last year).

Top picks to win the championships

With the Sweet Sixteen impending, Kentucky (48%) is the top pick to be the men’s NCAA champion this year by an exponential margin, followed distantly by Duke (6%) and Wisconsin (5%).

In the women’s competition, a third of college basketball fans (33%) pick Connecticut as the likely champions this year – making them the leader by a 10:1 margin over its closest competition on this question.

 

TABLE 1

FAVORITE MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAM: RANK ORDER

“Which is your favorite men’s college basketball team?”

Base: Follow college basketball

 

1993

1995

1996

1997

1998

2003

2004

2005

2006

Duke

1

2

2

3

2

1

1

1

1

Kentucky

5

1

1

1

1

5

=2

4

*

North Carolina (UNC)

2

3

7

2

3

7

=2

3

2

Connecticut

*

*

*

*

=6

*

=7

5

5

Ohio State

8

9

=4

*

*

*

*

*

4

UCLA

*

5

*

5

5

4

=7

=7

8

Michigan

4

8

3

4

*

2

*

*

*

Michigan State

*

8

*

*

=6

10

*

*

*

Notre Dame

*

*

*

*

*

*

10

*

*

Wisconsin

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Duke

2

1

2

=1

1

1

1

1

1

Kentucky

4

=9

7

=6

4

2

10

3

2

North Carolina (UNC)

1

2

1

=1

2

3

2

2

3

Connecticut

*

*

=9

3

*

=8

*

8

4

Ohio State

3

*

4

=6

3

10

3

4

5

UCLA

5

4

3

8

*

*

5

7

6

Michigan

=8

*

*

*

*

=4

4

5

7

Michigan State

*

*

*

*

*

=4

*

=9

8

Notre Dame

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

9

Wisconsin

*

=9

*

10

6

*

*

=9

10

*Not in the top 10.

 

Dropped out of the top 10 this year

(Last year’s rankings)

Syracuse (No. 6) and Wichita State (Tied at No. 9)

 


TABLE 2

FAVORITE WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAM

“Which is your favorite women’s college basketball team?”

 Base: Follow college basketball

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Connecticut

1

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Tennessee

2

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

3

2

2

2

Duke

4

3

3

3

=7

=4

7

*

6

8

*

4

3

North Carolina (UNC)

*

6

10

=7

3

7

3

*

5

6

=4

5

=4

Notre Dame

6

*

7

*

*

*

*

*

*

4

=4

=10

=4

Ohio State

*

*

9

4

*

*

6

=8

*

*

*

6

6

Baylor

*

*

*

*

=7

*

*

*

4

2

3

3

=7

Kentucky

*

5

*

*

*

10

10

*

=7

7

7

=10

=7

Stanford

*

4

4

*

*

=4

*

*

=7

*

6

8

=7

UCLA

*

=9

=8

*

*

*

*

=4

*

*

*

*

10

*Not in the top 10.

 

Dropped out of the top 10 this year

(Last year’s rankings) 

Michigan State (No. 7), Illinois (No. 9) and Maryland (Tied at No. 10)

 

TABLE 3

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL CHAMPION

“What team do you think will be the men’s NCAA champion this year?”

Base: Follow college basketball

 

Total

%

Kentucky

48

Duke

6

Wisconsin

5

Arizona

2

Virginia

2

North Carolina (UNC)

2

UCLA

2

Note: Other teams mentioned by less than 2%

 

TABLE 4

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL CHAMPION

“What team do you think will be the women’s NCAA champion this year?”

Base: Follow college basketball

 

Total

%

Connecticut

33

Notre Dame

3

Tennessee

3

Maryland

3

Duke

3

Ohio State

2

Kentucky

2

Note: Other teams mentioned by less than 2%

 

TABLE 5

COLLEGE SPORTS FOLLOWERS

“Do you follow any of these sports?”

Base: All adults

 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

FOLLOW COLLEGE SPORTS (NET)

41

41

44

42

41

43

44

45

47

   College football

33

34

36

35

32

35

37

39

39

   Men’s college basketball

24

23

26

26

25

25

26

28

25

   Women’s college basketball

8

7

8

9

7

9

8

9

7

   College baseball

6

8

8

9

7

9

8

10

10

   College hockey

4

3

5

6

3

4

5

4

4

   Other college sports

8

7

7

8

6

7

9

8

7

I follow none of these sports

59

59

56

58

59

57

56

55

53

Note: Multiple-response question.

 

 

Methodology 

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between March 11 and 16, 2015 among 2,244 adults (aged 18 and over) of whom 588 follow college basketball. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #20, March 26, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll