I coached high school basketball for seven seasons and never really had a preference for the site of the contest. It was simply that we got to play that mattered.
In fact, often I would rather have a road game. It was fun to travel and to get the kids away from everything around the school and focus on the game. And our teams had about the same record both places – mediocre. Must have been the coaching.
But on the college level, the records reflect that there is a distinct advantage to hosting the game. For Oklahoma’s 24 four-year schools, home court means a lot.
In conference play as of Jan. 27, both men’s and women’s teams are winning their home league games about 2-to-1.
Combined women’s conference record at home: 66-36.
Combined men’s conference record at home: 65-37.
The marks for all the schools when traveling show an even greater disparity.
Combined women’s conference record on the road: 37-74.
Combined men’s conference record on the road: 34-77.
Yes, apparently the home court is advantageous during the important part of a team’s schedule.
For teams like the Oklahoma City women and Oklahoma Wesleyan women, the results didn’t show much difference – because there were no conference losses. OCU 8-0 (4-0 at home and 4-0 away) and OKWU 8-0 (5-0 at home and 3-0 away). And unfortunately for St. Gregory’s men and women, it was the same story but the coin was flipped. Both teams are 0-4 at home and 0-3 away.
It is also worth noting that the advantage is extremely important for the men of the Great American Conference. Winning those home games is crucial because picking up a road win is rare.
The overall record for all the conference games played so far (Oklahoma and Arkansas schools) shows that the home team is 47-13 (78.3 percent).
GAC schools Northwestern and Southeastern are both 5-0 at home, but each has only one win on the road. The Oklahoma GAC programs are a combined 19-6 at home and 6-23 away in league play.
Finally, only Oklahoma State has taken this trend to the extreme. All three conference wins this season were at home; all three conference losses took place on the road. In fact, OSU hasn’t won a true road game since beating Texas Tech on Jan. 31, 2012.