So, this is one of those things I put down on my notes to do during the off-season. Never the time to do it while games are going on, but I perfect thing to do on a hot holiday weekend. (Written on Sunday, published on Tuesday).
I found this article by Ken Pomeroy about determining what is the true home court advantage. What he did was take paired games with a home and home in the same year, and compare the point differentials to see what the home court is actually worth.
I took MAC Men's Basketball and did the same thing. The most obvious caveat is that by definition we're talking just division games in the MAC and we have a pretty small sample. A real analysis would go back a few years and sometime I might get around to that. For now, this is what we have.
First, the AVERAGE difference is 9.7 points, which divided in half is 4.8 points per game. Pomeroy found a 3.76 points per game, which means on average, a team in the MAC had a slightly higher advantage in the MAC than in D1 as a whole.
However, the average actually gives you a slightly distorted view.
First, there was an advantage in only about 3/4s of the pairs (73.3%). In about one quarter, the road team had the advantage.
Second, there are really three significant groups of pairs. In addition to games where there was no advantage, there were about 3 in 10 that had a small advantage (1-10 points) and a big advantage (more than 20 points). Note these are raw differences, not divided by 2.
So, while the average difference is 4.8 points, in reality, in a third of the games (almost) the difference was more than 10 points per game in a pair. I don't know how this squares with what Pomeroy found, but I do think that it illustrates the impact home court has in our conference.
In terms of individual teams, UT had by far the biggest home floor advantage. They had a raw total of 20.8 per pairing or 10.4 per game. They had a 31 point difference with WMU, 34 with NIU, 28 with EMU and 21 with CMU. That's pretty interesting, especially given the relatively poor quality of the teams in the MAC West. Also, it shows that if they can improve on the road at all, they are going to have a great chance to compete.
Here are the total MAC standings:
- UT 20.8
- OU 14.6
- KSU 13
- Akron 12
- BG 10.6
- WMU 10.4
- CMU 9
- NIU 6.6
- EMU 6.6
- Buffalo 4.8
- Ball State 4.6
- Miami 3.8