Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MAC Men's Basketball, Home and Road

Early in the season, a big anomaly was emerging....MAC teams were having a hard time winning on the road.

This was a big deal.  For years, the MAC media contingent has been treated to a recurring spectacle.  A man in a suit would walk into a press conference, his tie loose, veins bulging and the look of death in his eyes.  Staring off into the distance, he would say...

"It's hard to win on the road in the MAC."

And indeed it was.  Not just in the MAC, in fact, but in all of college basketball.

Which is why it was notable when, early in the MAC season, the road teams were winning 53% of the games.  That was dog sleeping with cat territory.

Well, it didn't end up that way.  Remember, we're talking MAC games only.  In fact, the home teams ended up winning 59% of the games, which is not great, but it is in a normal territory.  Two years ago, MAC teams won 67% of the games at home, last year it was 56% and this year it ticked up to 59%.  From the point when I wrote that post, MAC home teams finished the year winning 63%.

Two MAC teams...Ball State and CMU...threw a bagel on the road.  Four teams, (BG, Kent, EMU and NIU) won 3.  Only two teams, (OU and WMU) won more than 5 of the 9 games on the road.  UT--undefeated at home--was 5-4 on the road.

Here's one thing I wonder.  The Wall Street Journal article above talks about the variation in schedules as a factor in a burgeoning home court advantage.  The MAC has started to go back to a more consistent Wednesday and Saturday routine.  I wonder if that is helping the road teams out--the idea being that a Thursday-Saturday set is tough on the road team playing Saturday.

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