Does the Geographical Location of a Program’s Home City Have an Impact on a Team’s Home Court Winning Percentage?

By: Ethan Hennessy

Being a Geography major I have wondered if teams that play in college basketball “travel destination” cities have an inherent advantage of higher home court winning percentages due to visiting teams not from the area being distracted by all that these cities have to offer.

In order to answer this question I did some research. I selected five United States cities that are known as destination locations for people going on vacations. The cities are San Diego, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Washington D.C., and Miami. All of these cities have some sort of draw that brings lots of tourist to their city, and could provide possible distractions for college basketball teams tasked with playing road games in them. San Diego has beaches, Las Vegas has the strip, casinos, and shows, Honolulu has beaches, fantastic scenery, and its Hawaii in general, D.C. has history, monuments, and museums, and Miami has beaches and nightclubs. These cities are also home to a number of college basketball teams San Diego State and San Diego in San Diego California, UNLV in Las Vegas, Hawaii in Honolulu, George Washington, American, Georgetown, and Howard in D.C., and FIU, FAU, and Miami in Miami Florida.

In order to be able to understand the data I needed a test set of cities that are not destination cities to compare these cities to, so I picked 5 cities that have college basketball profiles similar to the ones listed above. I will explain my reasoning below.

I matched Richmond Virginia to San Diego California because both cities have two upper level mid major teams in good mid major leagues. Richmond and VCU in the A10 I felt were pretty comparable to SDSU in the MW and SD in the WCC.

Next I matched Fresno California with Las Vegas Nevada. I felt this was a good match because they are both in the same league (Mountain West), and both programs have been decent in recent years.

Honolulu Hawaii was paired with Fort Wayne Indiana because each city has one college basketball team that does pretty well in its mid major league.

Boston was the match for D.C. because both cities have four college basketball teams total, and of those four one is high major, and three are mid major. For Boston they have BC, Harvard, Northeastern, and BU. For Washington they have Georgetown, GW, American, and Howard.

Lastly, I matched Atlanta with Miami because they both have one high major team and two mid major teams. For Atlanta they have Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and I included Kennesaw State just outside of the city. For Miami it is Miami, FIU, and FAU.

I did not include “destination cities” like New York or Los Angeles because while they might have appeal and distraction there are just way too many teams, and I did not have time to go out and collect data for 20 different division one teams.

How I gathered the information was I took only non conference records against other division one teams, excluding teams also from that city (i.e. I don’t include a game American played against George Washington for example). I then compiled each team’s individual record over the past four complete seasons and a total city record for the last four seasons. One of the main reasons I picked the cities I did is because of both number of total teams in the city, and high major vs. mid major makeup.

I was surprised to find out that for past four non conference seasons in every comparison the “non-destination cities” had teams with higher home court winning percentages then teams in the “destination cities” with the exception being the city of San Diego had a marginally better winning percentage then Richmond.

Here are the cities and percentages.
Richmond vs. San Diego 74.2% vs 75.0%
Fresno vs. Vegas 81.8% vs 81.3%
Fort Wayne vs. Honolulu 83.3% vs. 68.3%
Boston vs. DC 73.1% vs. 72.5%
Atlanta vs. Miami 70.6% vs. 67.9%

 

Most of the cities I compared the destination cities to were pretty close, but still I found it surprising that they did not possess more of a home court advantage. There is one element though in which the destination cities had a distinct advantage in. Maybe this is just coincidence, but the five destination cities had a significantly higher postseason (NIT, CIT, and CBI) winning percentage then the non destination cities.

Postseason records and winning percentage at home in the past 4 seasons.

For destination cities 11-1 91.7%
For non destination cities 6-2 75.0%

 

You can check out the full data for each team and each year below.

Hawaii 2017 7-3, 2016 5-7, 2015 9-1, 2014 7-2

28-13 .6829

FIU 2017 2-4, 2016 2-2, 2015 2-3, 2014 1-0

7-9 total

FAU 2017 1-1, 2016 1-2, 2015 0-1, 2014 3-0

5-4 total

Miami 2017 6-0,  2016 7-0, 2015 6-1, 2014 7-2 (2-0 postseason)

26-3

38-18 total for Miami .6785

UNLV

2017 10-1, 2016 6-4, 2015 4-1, 2014 6-0

total 26-6 .8125

GW 2017 5-2, 2016 6-1 (1-0 postseason), 2015 11-0 (3-0 postseason), 2014 5-0

27-3

gtown 2017 8-1, 2016 4-2, 2015 5-3, 2014 5-1

22-7

Howard 2017 0-1, 2016 0-1, 2015 2-3, 2014 1-0

total 3-5

American 2017 1-1, 2016 3-3, 2015 0-3, 2014 2-0

total 6-7

dc total 58-22 .725

San Diego 2017 6-2 (2-1 postseason), 2016 4-3, 2015 2-1, 2014 3-0

Total 15-6

San Diego State

2017 4-1, 2016 2-1, 2015 6-3 (3-0 postseason), 2014 6-0

total 18-5

total SD 33-11 .75

 

Fresno 2017 6-1, 2016 3-1, 2015 6-1, 2014 3-1

total 18-4 .8181

Fort Wayne 2017 4-1 (0-1 postseason), 2016 6-0 (1-0 postseason), 2015 3-0, 2014 2-2

total 15-3 .8333

Richmond 2017 1-5, 2016 5-2 (1-0 postseason), 2015 6-1, 2014 8-3 (2-1 postseason)

total 20-11

VCU 2017 7-2, 2016 6-1, 2015 7-1, 2014 6-1

total 26-5

total Richmond 46-16 .7419

GT 2017 7-3, 2016 9-2 (2-0 postseason), 2015 9-1 (1-0 postseason), 2014 6-1

total 31-7

GSU 2017 2-1, 2016 2-1, 2015 3-0, 2014 2-0

total 9-2

KSU 2017 2-3, 2016 2-2, 2015 2-3, 2014 2-3

total 8-11

total Atlanta 48-20 .7058

BC 2017 8-0, 2016 6-2, 2015 5-2, 2014 6-2

total 25-6

Northeastern 2017 3-0, 2016 2-1, 2015 2-1, 2014 2-0

NU total 9-2

Harvard 2017 1-1, 2016 2-2, 2015 2-2 2014 3-0

total 8-5

bu 2017 0-2, 2016 3-1, 2015 2-0, 2014 2-2

total 7-5

Boston total

49-18 .7313

 

Picture from: Thescore.com

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: