In the height of March Madness, hyping the home team is pretty much a political slam dunk. Highlighting one of college basketball's most polarizing programs is – yeah, pretty much the opposite.
That’s the flub that Kentucky senator and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faced Tuesday, when his campaign posted an online video that included a brief clip of the Duke basketball team celebrating after the 2010 national championship game.
Kentucky is a great state for hoops – Louisville and the University of Kentucky are gearing up for a Sweet Sixteen clash later this week – but Duke’s Blue Devils are a) from North Carolina and b) one of the most gleefully rooted-against teams by NCAA fans whose allegiances lie pretty much anywhere other than Durham.
In an email, McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore attributed the mistake to a vendor.
"The ad was intended to highlight Kentucky's basketball dominance and obviously the web ad vendor has become so accustomed to watching national championship celebrations in the bluegrass state that they made a mistake with one of the images,” she said. “Obviously we were horrified by the error and quickly changed it."
Moore added that the McConnell campaign had communicated with the University of Kentucky and "the matter has been resolved."
McConnell faces a closely-watched general election race against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The Kentucky senator on Tuesday declined to pick sides in the rivalry between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals.
"I didn't get this far in my line of work by answering questions like that," McConnell said with a laugh. "That is the hottest issue in our state."
In her NCAA bracket, Grimes predicted that Louisville would make it to the final game of the tournament -- before losing to number one overall pick Florida.
NBC's Kasie Hunt contributed.
First published March 25 2014, 2:01 PM