America’s Favorite College Basketball Teams

By Harris Interactive, Special for US Daily Review.

They may not be playing in the Final Four this weekend, but for the third year in a row, the Duke Blue Devils are America’s Favorite College Basketball team. The overall number one seed for this year’s NCAA Men’s College Basketball tournament, Kentucky, is number two on the list up from number 4 last year. This is the highest Kentucky has been since 2004 when they were tied for second place. And, last year’s number two, North Carolina dropped one spot to number three this year.

Rounding out the top five favorite college basketball teams are two teams who are both returning to the list after absences of a few years and who are tied for the fourth spot: Michigan—who hasn’t been on the list since they were tied for number 8 in 2007—and Michigan State, who returns to the list after having been number 10 in 2003. While all five started in the tournament, only one of the top 5 favorite college basketball teams has a chance at becoming this year’s national champion – Kentucky.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,451 adults surveyed online between March 12 and 19, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Looking at the remaining 5 teams in the top ten, again only one has a shot at becoming national champion. Down one spot from last year, at number 6 is Syracuse and making their debut at number 7 is Missouri. Two teams tied for the number 8 spot – Connecticut, who returns to the list after a one year absence and Texas who was number 9 last year. And, rounding out the top ten, dropping from number 3 last year is Ohio State who will be playing this weekend in the Final Four.

Four teams dropped off the favorite college basketball team top ten this year: Wisconsin, who was number 6; Illinois, who was number 7; Pittsburgh who was number 8; and, Iowa who was number 10.

Women’s College Basketball

While Connecticut remains America’s Favorite Women’s College Basketball team again this year, there is a new number two as Baylor jumps up from number four last year. Dropping down one spot to number three is Tennessee and returning to the list at number 4 after a six year absence is Notre Dame. Also returning to the list, but after a 2 year absence is Maryland who is back in at number 5.  North Carolina moves down one spot this year to number 6 while Kentucky goes from a tie at number 7 to holding that spot alone this year. Duke drops down two spots from number 6 last year to number 8 this year. Rounding out the top ten are two who are returning to the top ten after a one year absence – Texas at number 9 and Purdue at number 10.

Dropping off the women’s top ten are Wisconsin (was number 3), Iowa (tied for number 7), Stanford (tied for number 7), andMichigan State (number 10).

So What?

College sports are big business and for 3 weeks every March, the focus is all on basketball. The term “Madness” applies as number 2 seeds fall in early rounds and number 14 seeds move on and everyone looks for which team will be this year’s Cinderella. Among all adults, one-quarter (25%) follow men’s college basketball and one in ten (9%) follow women’s college basketball. But, as brackets are discussed and some companies see a spike in sick days during the first two days of the tourney, it seems like a lot more people may follow college basketball this time of the year.

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
Michigan 4 8 3 4 * 2 * * *
Michigan State * 8 * * =6 10 * * *
Syracuse * * * * * * * =7 6
Missouri * * * * * * * * *
Connecticut * * * * =6 * =7 5 5
Texas * * * * * * * 9 7
Ohio State 8 9 =4 * * * * * 4
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Duke 2 1 2 =1 1 1
Kentucky 4 =9 7 =6 4 2
North Carolina (UNC) 1 2 1 =1 2 3
Michigan =8 * * * * =4
Michigan State * * * * * =4
Syracuse 10 * * * 5 6
Missouri * * * * * 7
Connecticut * * =9 3 * =8
Texas 6 * 5 =4 9 =8
Ohio State 3 * 4 =6 3 10

*Not in the top 10.

Dropped out of the top 10 this year
(Last year’s rankings)
Wisconsin (No. 6), Illinois (No. 7), Pittsburgh (No. 8) and Iowa (No. 10)
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
Connecticut 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
Baylor * * * * =7 * * * 4 2
Tennessee 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3
Notre Dame 6 * 7 * * * * * * 4
Maryland * * * * 5 =4 5 * * 5
North Carolina (UNC) * 6 10 =7 3 7 3 * 5 6
Kentucky * 5 * * * 10 10 * =7 7
Duke 4 3 3 3 =7 =4 7 * 6 8
Texas 5 8 6 * * * 4 3 * 9
Purdue =9 7 * * * * * =9 * 10

*Not in the top 10.

Dropped out of the top 10 this year
(Last year’s rankings)
Wisconsin (No. 3), Iowa (tied for no. 7), Stanford (tied for no. 7), and Michigan State (No. 10)

TABLE 3
COLLEGE Sports Followers
“Do you follow any of these sports?”
Base: All adults
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
% % % % % %
FOLLOW COLLEGE SPORTS (NET) 41 41 44 42 41 43
   College football 33 34 36 35 32 35
   Men’s college basketball 24 23 26 26 25 25
   Women’s college basketball 8 7 8 9 7 9
   College baseball 6 8 8 9 7 9
   College hockey 4 3 5 6 3 4
   Other college sports 8 7 7 8 6 7
I follow none of these sports 59 59 56 58 59 57

Note: Multiple-response question.

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 12 to 19, 2012 among 2,451 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 615 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, Harris Interactive 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 Interactive 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 the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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