On the same day that Harris Interactive released a poll decreeing Duke the most popular team in the country, The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg finished his two-part series on why Duke is hated. Of course, the Blue Devils are relevant in Steinberg’s D.C. Sports blog because the men’s basketball team lost in Washington D.C. over the weekend and the women advanced to the Sweet 16 from College Park, Md.
So which is it? Is Duke loved or hated? Which would you rather have?
–by Ben Cohen
It seems that recently, whenever Duke travels to road games even at neutral venues, the crowd has two favorite teams: the local team, or whoever is playing Duke. Washington D.C. fans rallied behind West Virginia as the Mountaineers upset the Duke men in the NCAA Tournament’s second round, and the crowd at Maryland was decidedly anti-Duke for the women’s team’s first two NCAA Tournament games, both wins.
According to a new Harris Interactive poll, though, Duke is the most popular college basketball team in the country. After being replaced by North Carolina in 2007, Duke regained the top spot it held from 2003-2006. Rounding out the top five: North Carolina, Indiana, UCLA and, um, Iowa. Not sure how the Hawkeyes slipped in there with the traditional powers, but so it goes.
The women’s team jumped three places from 2007, finishing fourth this year behind Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland and Stanford. Again with Iowa. Skewed polling! Conspiracy!
–by Ben Cohen