"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Does it help to play on the road Non-Conference?

First, it's awfully difficult to win on the road in CUSA. Just 3 teams had winning road records. 2 more with .500 road records.

But I wanted to see if the oft-repeated saw about playing road games to better prepare you for the conference season holds up to scrutinty based on the final C-USA records.

I've assigned a point scale, giving 2 poins for a road game, 1 for a neutral site game.

When we add up the points for the road and neutral games, we find that Houston was supposedly THE best preparerd team for the road in conference play by playing the toughest schedule--13 total points based on 5 road games and 3 neutral site games.

MU has been criticized for it's lack of road games--just 2 total points.

Yet amazingly, both these teams tied for the 6th best confernce road record!

Cincy, who played the second easiest non-conference road schedule with just 1 road and 3 neutral games actually had the second best overall road record in conference play.

UAB, who played the second tougest non-conferecne road schedules, had came in 3rd.

Best conference road team Louisville has a slightly easier non-conference road slate than worst conference road team ECU.

Conclusion: despite all the blather about how much playing more on the road would have helped--the bottom line is that there are only five teams in CUSA that had a better road record than MU.

Team, Road Record, non-conference road/neutral games played, points
1. UL 7-1; 3 Road/2 Neutral--8 total points
2T. UC 5-3; 1 Road/3 Neutral--5 total points
2T. UAB 5-3; 4 Road/3 Neutral--11 total points
4T. Charlotte 4-4; 3 Road/2 Neutral--8 total points
4T. Memphis 4-4; 2 Road/4 Neutral--8 total points
6T. MU 3-5; 1 Road/0 Neutral--2 total points
6T. DePaul 3-5; 3 Road/0 Neutral--6 total points
6T. Houston 3-5; 5 Road/3 Neutral--13 total points
6T. SLU 3-5; 3 Road/3 Neutral--9 total points
10T. TCU 2-6; 4 Road/1 Neutral--9 total points
10T. USF 2-6; 3 Road/3 Neutral--9 total points
12. Tulane 1-7; 3 Road/3 Neutral--9 total points
13T: ECU 0-8; 4 Road/1 Neutral--9 total points
13T: USM 0-8; 1 Road/4 Neutral--6 total points

The ultimate irony is that this order is pretty darn close to the C-USA coach's pre-season picks. Here's the link to the way the CUSA coaches saw things last October:

In other words, it's not how many road games you play, but rather, how good a team you are that dictates how you play on the road.

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