When I moved to the great state of North Carolina, I learned an important lesson: Never talk about religion, politics, or college basketball in polite company. College hoops is taken seriously in these parts.

This is rivalry week in the Triangle, with Duke and UNC meet for the first of two (or three) times this season on Wednesday night. One the eve of what will certainly be an epic matchup, one of the nation’s leading political polling firms, Public Policy Polling, have released their annual UNC/Duke Poll.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • UNC is North Carolina’s most popular school, with 32% of respondents saying it’s their favorite college. Duke (19%) and NC State (18%) are in a tight battle for second place, with ECU claiming 8%, Wake Forest 6% and 17% saying “none of these” schools are their favorite.
  • UNC also leads when voters are asked who they’ll be rooting for in Wednesday’s Duke-UNC men’s basketball matchup, 41-31.
  • There’s a healthy amount of respect between the fanbases. 49% of UNC fans say they “respect” Duke while just 16% “hate Duke.” And 53% of Duke fans “respect” UNC with only 16% “hating” the Tar Heels.
Regardless of who wins on Wednesday night, this is the greatest rivalry in sports, IMHO. The proximity (8 miles from campus to campus),  success (UNC and Duke have 10 national championships between them), parity (the cumulative point total for the last 75 meetings is Duke 5,858- UNC 5,857) and sheer hatred are unrivaled in any sport, college or pro.