Home/Road Factor

As mentioned last week in this space, during my days at The Knoxville Journal I came up with a formula I call the Home/Road Factor. It's a way of projecting a basketball team's success by giving extra weight to home losses and road wins.

Since teams generally win at home and lose on the road, my system provides 1 point for each road victory and deducts 1 point for each home loss. This way a team that has fattened its record by playing more home games isn't rewarded and a team that has played more road games isn't penalized.

A team that has the same number of road wins as home losses in SEC play will have a Home/Road Rating of zero and will project to finish at the .500 level (8-8). A team at plus-1 projects to finish two games above .500 (9-7). A team at plus-2 projects to finish four games above .500 (10-6). A team at plus-3 projects to finish six games above .500 (11-5). A team at plus-4 projects to finish eight games above .500 (12-4). The system works the same way in reverse. A team at minus-1 projects to finish two games below .500 (7-9), etc.

Tennessee and LSU currently lead the SEC with plus-3 ratings. That means both will finish 11-5 if they win their remaining home games and lose their remaining road games. However, a win Saturday at Georgia would boost Tennessee's rating to plus-4, putting the Vols on track to finish 12-4 if they simply win the rest of their home games. LSU also could move to plus-4 if it beats Florida Saturday in Gainesville.

Beating Kentucky Tuesday night in Lexington was huge for Tennessee because it represented a two-point swing. The Vols gained a point by virtue of winning a road game and the Cats dropped a point by virtue of losing a home game. Tennessee went from plus-2 to plus-3 and the Big Blue slipped from plus-1 to 0.

Tennessee's plus-3 rating is due to three road wins (at South Carolina, at Mississippi State, at UK) and a 5-0 home record. SEC East runner-up Florida slipped from plus-2 to plus-1 by losing at home Wednesday night to South Carolina.

Here are the SEC Home/Road ratings, through Wednesday night's games:

EASTERN DIVISION

Tennessee +3 (3 road wins … 0 home losses)

Florida +1 (2 road wins … 1 home loss)

Kentucky 0 (3 road wins … 3 home losses)

Georgia 0 (2 road wins … 2 home losses)

South Carolina 0 (2 road wins … 2 home losses)

Vanderbilt -1 (1 road win … 2 home losses)

WESTERN DIVISION

LSU +3 (3 road wins … 0 home losses)

Alabama + 1 (2 road wins … 1 home loss)

Arkansas 0 (1 road win … 1 home loss)

Ole Miss -1 (1 road win … 2 home losses)

Mississippi State -3 (0 road wins … 3 home losses)

Auburn -3 (0 road wins … 3 home losses)


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