Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Facts: Where's the home cookin'?

Time for another installment of Friday Facts, my weekly look at the Big Ten's per-possession stats, adjusted for opponent and venue. This week I break it down by home (HEM) and road (VEM), as well:

Not a whole lot different than last week. MSU, Iowa, and Michigan are clearly a cut above the rest of the league, and this shows in their records, their raw efficiency margins, and their adjusted efficiency margins. Wisconsin, OSU, and Minnesota are fighting for the coveted fourth seed. Everyone else is not so good, but good enough to pull some upsets (apparently). Northwestern is creeping up on Illinois, but is still dogged by those blowout home losses to Iowa and Wisconsin. 

I posted the other day about how Michigan State has been just an average Big Ten team at home, noting that they'd played the same teams at home as Nebraska had, except for Indiana, who came to visit Lincoln last night. Since MSU beat Indiana by five at home, I went ahead and predicted a five-point victory for Nebraska. BOOM!

Speaking of Nebraska, you might be surprised to see Nebraska actually dropped from -.04 to -.05 this week, despite beating both Minnesota and Indiana at home. The reason for this is that an average Big Ten team would have been expected to win those games by slightly larger margins. That said, Nebraska appears to be the team that the Friday Facts thought they were.

Anyhow, Michigan State is not alone in its home woes. Nearly every team—all but Minnesota—has performed better (compared to average) on the road. This shows up in a number of surprising home losses: Indiana and Wisconsin to Northwestern; Michigan State to Michigan; Ohio State to Iowa, etc. Simply put, home-court advantage hasn't been as big a deal this year in the Big Ten as it usually is. But maybe things will even out... 

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