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    College Homecourts (2/16/12)

    By Paul Bessire

    Thursday, February 16 at 6:15 PM ET

    Today's blog will revisit college basketball homecourt advantages.

    College Basketball Homecourt Advantage:
    A few weeks ago, we discussed our modifications of college basketball homecourt advantage, including a ranking of all 345 Division I homecourts. It may have been lost in the previous blog entry and deserves more focus. Plus, as part of some other engine tweaks we rolled out last week (more on that next week), we made some slight revisions to our homecourt advantage approach. And, logically, some of the numbers have changed over the last several weeks of games.

    Homecourt advantage in college basketball is typically presumed to mean "about four points" (the average right now is actually closer to 3.7) difference in the final score. This means that if two teams were identical, neither team would be favored on a neutral court and the home team would be favored by about four if they played at one of the team's arenas. This can lead to essentially an eight point swing from one venue to the next. The truth is that some venues could actually mean up 10-11 points, while some do not help at all (and there are 345 DI college basketball arenas). Our historical accuracy in college basketball during preseason tournaments, conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament is greater than 60% ATS. However, in regular season games (i.e. where one team plays on its homecourt as opposed to the games being played on neutral courts), our performance has not nearly been as strong.

    In addition to the obvious difference in our performance, tracking line movements in the Play Analyzer prior to our initial improvements to unique homecourt advantages noted lines played at the same arenas typically moved in the same direction. As we researched this further, it became clear that, aside from injuries or late-breaking roster information, line movements most often moved in the direction of homecourt (favoring a team with a strong homecourt by more or favoring the away team by more when the homecourt is not as strong). As generalized as I can state it, if the consensus for books is to flatly apply four points for the home team, those who understand the true application of home court advantages exploit that and, in turn, move the line. I do not mean to speak for books or even to say that blindly following this strategy will yield profitable results, but it did lead to some significant changes on our end as we better account for each venue's true value (relative to pace of play) both for the expectation in the game being played and in how to remove the bias of homecourt in a team's data. We have always done this to some degree, yet have drastically improved this process.

    The updated chart below ranks every DI college basketball team in order of the strength of its homecourt (as ranked by expected points per possession that the homecourt adds). Sorry fans, it seems as though homecourt advantage is most closely tied to things beyond your control (at best, fan impact can be tied to free-throw percentage against, but I do not subscribe to that theory enough, nor is there enough of a statistical case to incorporate free-throw percentage against). Strong homecourts seem to fall into one of three categories: 1) High elevation (the top four arenas and six of the top eight are all at least 4,500 feet above sea level), 2) Extreme tempo teams (teams are more comfortable dictating tempo at home so the fast teams like Missouri tend to play their fastest and the slow teams like Wisconsin tend to play their slowest at home) and 3) Average conference teams that still draw sizable crowds (terrible teams are terrible anywhere and great teams are usually great anywhere, but average teams with a strong fanbase, like Oklahoma State, Alabama and Toledo have very good homecourt advantages). Remember that homecourt advantage compares expected scores at home AND on the road to quantify the value of playing at home.

    In the chart, have included the raw, historical point values that we have calculated each of the 345 DI venues to warrant for home basketball games. Remember that the actual ranking is pace-adjusted. All data goes back to 2000. For teams that have new arenas, seasons in new arenas are given stronger consideration.

    College Basketball Homecourt Advantage by Team:

    Rank Team Points
    1 Denver 10.9
    2 Northern Arizona 10.2
    3 Wyoming 9.1
    4 Utah Valley 9.0
    5 Toledo 8.7
    6 Wisconsin 7.9
    7 Utah St. 8.0
    8 Northern Colorado 8.3
    9 Howard 8.2
    10 Missouri 7.9
    11 Missouri St. 7.6
    12 Miami (OH) 7.4
    13 Alabama 7.5
    14 Arkansas St. 7.4
    15 Indiana 7.7
    16 Nebraska 7.3
    17 St. Francis PA 7.4
    18 Oklahoma 7.4
    19 Purdue 7.3
    20 South Dakota 7.4
    21 Colorado 7.2
    22 Illinois 7.0
    23 George Mason 7.2
    24 Morehead St. 6.7
    25 Notre Dame 6.7
    26 Oklahoma St. 7.0
    27 Tulsa 6.6
    28 Miami FL 6.6
    29 Wright St. 6.5
    30 Pittsburgh 6.4
    31 Longwood 6.7
    32 Southern Methodist 6.1
    33 Drake 6.4
    34 Fresno St. 6.2
    35 Mississippi Valley St. 6.6
    36 Georgia Tech 6.3
    37 Western Carolina 6.3
    38 Stephen F. Austin 6.0
    39 Charleston Southern 6.5
    40 Drexel 6.0
    41 Ohio 6.2
    42 Northwestern 5.9
    43 Wake Forest 6.1
    44 Creighton 6.0
    45 Arkansas 6.2
    46 Texas St. 6.3
    47 Ohio St. 6.0
    48 College of Charleston 5.9
    49 Idaho St. 5.8
    50 Valparaiso 5.8
    51 Eastern Michigan 5.5
    52 Houston 5.8
    53 Providence 5.7
    54 Houston BaptiSt. 6.0
    55 Duke 5.7
    56 Arizona 5.5
    57 Portland 5.6
    58 Texas Pan American 5.4
    59 Prairie View A&M 5.6
    60 Auburn 5.5
    61 Georgia Southern 5.4
    62 Sacramento St. 5.4
    63 Marist 5.5
    64 Weber St. 5.4
    65 Florida A&M 5.5
    66 Southeastern Louisiana 5.2
    67 Fordham 5.4
    68 Clemson 5.2
    69 Arkansas Pine Bluff 5.3
    70 Illinois St. 5.2
    71 Evansville 5.3
    72 Temple 5.2
    73 Georgia St. 5.2
    74 Central Florida 5.1
    75 Michigan 5.0
    76 New Mexico 5.2
    77 High Point 5.0
    78 Louisiana Tech 5.0
    79 Iowa 5.1
    80 Murray St. 5.0
    81 Texas Tech 4.9
    82 Xavier 5.0
    83 TCU 5.0
    84 McNeese St. 4.9
    85 St. John's 4.9
    86 Kansas 5.0
    87 UCLA 4.7
    88 Nicholls St. 4.7
    89 Canisius 4.7
    90 Chicago St. 4.8
    91 UTEP 4.6
    92 Florida Gulf Coast 4.7
    93 USC 4.5
    94 Western Michigan 4.7
    95 Belmont 4.7
    96 Kansas St. 4.7
    97 Bucknell 4.5
    98 Southern 4.6
    99 Hawaii 4.7
    100 Navy 4.4
    101 Youngstown St. 4.5
    102 Lamar 4.6
    103 South Carolina St. 4.6
    104 South Carolina 4.4
    105 Florida St. 4.5
    106 Georgia 4.3
    107 Bowling Green 4.4
    108 Mississippi 4.4
    109 Oregon St. 4.6
    110 Campbell 4.4
    111 Eastern Washington 4.4
    112 Southern Utah 4.3
    113 Maryland 4.4
    114 Niagara 4.4
    115 Old Dominion 4.3
    116 Stanford 4.3
    117 Alcorn St. 4.3
    118 Harvard 4.1
    119 Washington St. 4.2
    120 St. Bonaventure 4.2
    121 Western Illinois 4.0
    122 Louisville 4.3
    123 San Francisco 4.3
    124 Dartmouth 4.1
    125 St. Louis 4.1
    126 Akron 4.2
    127 Norfolk St. 4.2
    128 Oakland 4.2
    129 Baylor 4.1
    130 Illinois Chicago 4.0
    131 Middle Tennessee 4.0
    132 Northwestern St. 4.1
    133 Cornell 4.1
    134 Kentucky 4.0
    135 Texas A&M 3.9
    136 North Carolina A&T 4.1
    137 Buffalo 4.1
    138 Louisiana Lafayette 4.1
    139 Delaware 4.0
    140 Furman 3.9
    141 NJIT 3.9
    142 Siena 3.9
    143 Florida Atlantic 3.9
    144 Nevada 3.9
    145 Lipscomb 4.1
    146 Wisconsin Green Bay 4.0
    147 Eastern Kentucky 3.8
    148 Stetson 4.0
    149 Central Michigan 3.8
    150 Arizona St. 3.7
    151 Virginia Tech 3.7
    152 Colorado St. 3.8
    153 Winthrop 3.7
    154 South Florida 3.6
    155 Utah 3.6
    156 Loyola Marymount 3.6
    157 Portland St. 3.8
    158 Troy 3.8
    159 UAB 3.6
    160 Memphis 3.7
    161 Presbyterian 3.5
    162 Northern Illinois 3.6
    163 Washington 3.8
    164 Duquesne 3.7
    165 Ball St. 3.6
    166 Iowa St. 3.6
    167 Alabama A&M 3.6
    168 North Carolina 3.8
    169 Detroit 3.6
    170 Oral Roberts 3.5
    171 Montana St. 3.6
    172 Cal St. Northridge 3.6
    173 San Diego 3.6
    174 Long Island 3.8
    175 Central Connecticut 3.5
    176 South Dakota St. 3.5
    177 Southern Mississippi 3.5
    178 Nebraska Omaha 3.7
    179 Appalachian St. 3.5
    180 Rhode Island 3.5
    181 West Virginia 3.4
    182 New Mexico St. 3.6
    183 Wisconsin Milwaukee 3.4
    184 William & Mary 3.3
    185 Michigan St. 3.4
    186 Monmouth 3.4
    187 Villanova 3.4
    188 Boise St. 3.3
    189 IPFW 3.4
    190 St. Mary's 3.2
    191 Dayton 3.2
    192 Vanderbilt 3.2
    193 Indiana St. 3.2
    194 California 3.2
    195 Kent St. 3.2
    196 Princeton 3.1
    197 LSU 3.1
    198 Maryland Eastern Shore 3.2
    199 Tennessee Martin 3.1
    200 IUPUI 3.1
    201 Idaho 3.0
    202 Mississippi St. 3.0
    203 Oregon 3.0
    204 Cincinnati 3.0
    205 VCU 3.0
    206 Mount St. Mary's 2.9
    207 Holy Cross 3.0
    208 Montana 2.9
    209 Tennessee St. 2.9
    210 Arkansas Little Rock 2.9
    211 Marshall 2.9
    212 Texas 2.8
    213 UC Riverside 2.8
    214 Sacred Heart 2.9
    215 NC Wilmington 2.8
    216 Mercer 2.8
    217 San Jose St. 2.8
    218 Davidson 2.9
    219 Minnesota 2.7
    220 Rutgers 2.7
    221 East Tennessee St. 2.7
    222 Charlotte 2.8
    223 SIU Edwardsville 2.8
    224 James Madison 2.7
    225 UMKC 2.7
    226 Hartford 2.7
    227 Albany 2.7
    228 North Texas 2.7
    229 Western Kentucky 2.7
    230 Bradley 2.7
    231 Seattle 2.7
    232 Wichita St. 2.6
    233 Santa Clara 2.6
    234 George Washington 2.5
    235 North Dakota St. 2.5
    236 Marquette 2.6
    237 Morgan St. 2.5
    238 Yale 2.5
    239 Boston University 2.4
    240 Delaware St. 2.3
    241 South Carolina Upstate 2.4
    242 Cal St. Bakersfield 2.4
    243 Georgetown 2.3
    244 Texas Southern 2.4
    245 Northern Iowa 2.3
    246 Chattanooga 2.4
    247 Pepperdine 2.2
    248 Hofstra 2.3
    249 UC Irvine 2.4
    250 Alabama St. 2.2
    251 Jacksonville 2.3
    252 Coppin St. 2.3
    253 Texas Arlington 2.3
    254 Louisiana Monroe 2.2
    255 Saint Joseph's 2.2
    256 Cleveland St. 2.1
    257 Virginia 2.0
    258 Columbia 2.1
    259 Tennessee 2.1
    260 Texas A&M Corpus Christi 2.1
    261 North Carolina St. 2.1
    262 New Hampshire 2.0
    263 Liberty 2.0
    264 Brigham Young 2.1
    265 Syracuse 2.0
    266 Lehigh 2.1
    267 Long Beach St. 2.0
    268 Tulane 1.9
    269 Air Force 1.9
    270 St. Francis NY 2.0
    271 Robert Morris 1.9
    272 Jackson St. 1.8
    273 Brown 1.8
    274 Boston College 1.8
    275 Radford 1.8
    276 Seton Hall 1.8
    277 Cal St. Fullerton 1.8
    278 American 1.7
    279 Sam Houston St. 1.7
    280 Penn St. 1.7
    281 Florida 1.7
    282 San Diego St. 1.7
    283 Gardner Webb 1.6
    284 North Dakota 1.6
    285 Colgate 1.6
    286 Binghamton 1.5
    287 Eastern Illinois 1.5
    288 Texas San Antonio 1.6
    289 Tennessee Tech 1.6
    290 Wagner 1.5
    291 Austin Peay 1.5
    292 Rice 1.5
    293 Savannah St. 1.4
    294 DePaul 1.5
    295 Central Arkansas 1.5
    296 Army 1.4
    297 Southern Illinois 1.3
    298 Kennesaw St. 1.3
    299 UC Santa Barbara 1.2
    300 Lafayette 1.2
    301 North Carolina Central 1.2
    302 Coastal Carolina 1.1
    303 Pacific 1.0
    304 Butler 1.0
    305 Elon 0.9
    306 Wofford 0.8
    307 Massachusetts 0.8
    308 La Salle 0.8
    309 Stony Brook 0.7
    310 Gonzaga 0.7
    311 St. Peter's 0.7
    312 Iona 0.7
    313 Florida International 0.6
    314 UNLV 0.5
    315 Connecticut 0.4
    316 East Carolina 0.4
    317 Citadel 0.3
    318 Bethune Cookman 0.3
    319 Fairfield 0.1
    320 Cal Poly 0.1
    321 Manhattan 0.1
    322 UC Davis (0.1)
    323 Fairleigh Dickinson (0.1)
    324 South Alabama (0.1)
    325 MD Baltimore County (0.4)
    326 Samford (0.4)
    327 Southeast Missouri St. (0.4)
    328 Quinnipiac (0.4)
    329 Jacksonville St. (0.4)
    330 NC Asheville (0.5)
    331 Towson (0.6)
    332 NC Greensboro (0.7)
    333 Pennsylvania (0.7)
    334 Rider (0.7)
    335 VMI (0.8)
    336 Grambling St. (0.8)
    337 Hampton (1.0)
    338 Vermont (1.0)
    339 Northeastern (1.0)
    340 Richmond (1.1)
    341 Loyola MD (1.1)
    342 Bryant (1.3)
    343 Maine (1.3)
    344 Loyola Chicago (1.7)
    345 North Florida (2.7)
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