Home-Road Factor

A three-way tie in the SEC East basketball race is a distinct possibility. South Carolina, Florida and Kentucky share the division lead at 8-4, with each playing two home games and two road games the rest of the way.

If anyone breaks the deadlock and wins the division outright I think it will be the Gamecocks. Here's why:

Florida has road games left at LSU and at Mississippi State. The Gators are 2-4 away from home, even losing to a woeful Georgia team on the road. I see Florida losing at Baton Rouge and Starkville to finish 10-6.

Kentucky has road games left at South Carolina and at Florida. The Cats are a good road team, as their 4-2 record at opposing SEC gyms suggests, but I don't see them winning at Columbia or Gainesville. Thus, I project the Big Blue to finish 10-6, as well.

South Carolina has road games left at Vanderbilt and at Georgia. The Gamecocks are only 2-4 away from home but Nashville and Athens are the two easiest stops in the division. I see Carolina winning at least one of those two games and claiming the East title at 11-5.

Although Tennessee is only a game off the division lead at 7-5, the Vols appear to be no threat to win the division at this point. They have tough road tests left at Florida and at South Carolina. The Big Orange won its first three road tests this season but dropped the last three, including lopsided losses at Ole Miss (81-65) and Kentucky (77-58). I don't see the Vols winning at Gainesville or Columbia, so I'm projecting them to finish fourth in the division at 9-7.

These projections presuppose that South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee will win their remaining home games but I'm not really going too far out on a limb there. Six SEC games were played on Saturday, and the home team won all six. That's pretty much the norm; SEC teams usually win at home and usually lose on the road.

As noted in previous articles, I built this tendency into a ratings system I call the Home-Road Factor. Whereas traditional standings tend to reward a team that has padded its record with home wins and punish a team that has played (and lost) more road games, my Home-Road ratings avoid this pitfall by ignoring home wins and road losses. Instead, I award two points for each road win and deduct two points for each home loss. This gives a truer picture of how a team stands in relation to its division rivals.

The Home-Road ratings also serve to project a team's final record. A plus-4 rating means a team that wins its remaining home games and loses its remaining road games will finish four games over .500 ... or 10-6. A plus-2 rating means a team that wins its remaining home games and loses its remaining road games will finish two games over .500 ... or 9-7.

That said, here's a look at the newest SEC Home-Road ratings, with each team's projected final record in parenthesis:


S.Carolina 6-0 home 2-4 road 8-4 total .... PLUS-4 ... (10-6)

Florida 6-0 home 2-4 road 8-4 total .... PLUS-4 ... (10-6)

Kentucky 4-2 home 4-2 road 8-4 total .... PLUS-4 ... (10-6)

Tennessee 4-2 home 3-3 road 7-5 total .... PLUS-2 ... (9-7)

Vanderbilt 4-2 home 1-5 road 5-7 total .... MINUS-2 ... (7-9)

Georgia 1-5 home 0-6 road 1-11 total .... MINUS-10 ... (3-13)


Louisiana St. 6-0 home 5-1 road 11-1 total .... PLUS-10 ... (13-3)

Miss. State 4-2 home 3-3 road 7-5 total .... PLUS-2 ... (9-7)

Ole Miss 5-1 home 1-5 road 6-6 total .... ZERO ... (8-8)

Auburn 4-2 home 2-4 road 6-6 total .... ZERO ... (8-8)

Alabama 4-2 home 0-6 road 4-8 total .... MINUS-4 ... (6-10)

Arkansas 1-5 home 0-6 road 1-11 total .... MINUS-10 ... (3-13)

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