Pac-12 basketball this week: Sweet home? Balanced league sees more road wins

2013-02-06T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:33:31Z Pac-12 basketball this week: Sweet home? Balanced league sees more road winsPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The comforts of home ain't what they used to be.

At the halfway mark of the Pac-12 season, home teams have won 57 percent of their league games, the lowest mark since the 2007-08 season.

That's down from last season, when home teams won two-thirds of Pac-12 games and seven squads boasted a home conference record of 7-2 or better.

"I would say this year that home-court advantage doesn't hold as much water as it has in years past," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "What that means is, when you go on the road, you have a chance."

The question is, why?

Here are a few theories culled from coaches Tuesday:

• The league is better. Road opponents are tougher, compared to last year's historically bad Pac-12 showing, in which only two teams made the NCAA tournament, Colorado and Cal.

"This year, there's such parity," Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said. "It just seems like any team can beat any team on any night, despite where you are, this year."

Only the Beavers have yet to win a league game on the road this year.

Five teams have a .500 or better road record in league play this year; last season, only four did.

"Anybody on any given night can pop anybody," said Dana Altman, whose Oregon Ducks are the league's last undefeated home team.

• Pac-12 gyms aren't intimidating. At home, only Arizona and UCLA average more than 10,000 fans. Five teams average fewer than 6,000.

"I dunno if our arenas are packed," Boyle said. "I know Arizona draws consistently well. We've been drawing well. You look around the conference, you don't have a lot of full arenas, which makes it a little easier for the road team."

• Players are used to travel. Growing up on the AAU circuit has given recruits a better feel for how to play on the road.

"I think these kids who are coming in, the younger kids, have played so much more basketball in so many different places that maybe they aren't as intimidated going into a different environment," Robinson said.

Youth in general - three of the league's top seven scorers are freshmen - might make consistency harder to grasp at home.

"Kids have to get used to playing at home, too," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "They may be nervous about playing at home. They're not used to the positives."

• It's early. This week, the Pac-12's top four teams - Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA - host two games apiece. In seven days, the home winning percentage might look a bit different.

Then again, home teams have fallen with regularity all year.

"You see some scores that, you scratch your head," Boyle said.

Coaches still prefer the comforts of their own gym, even if winning isn't the slam dunk it once was, even last year.

"It still feels like you'd rather play at home than on the road," Robinson said.

On StarNet: Join Patrick Finley today at noon for a live Pac-12 basketball chat at live.azstarnet.com

edge declines

Only 57 percent of Pac-12 home teams have won league games this year, the least since the 2007-08 season. Here's the past six seasons:

Year Pac-12 home record Win%

2007-08 48-42 53 percent

2008-09 57-33 63 percent

2009-10 56-34 62 percent

2010-11 58-32 64 percent

2011-12 72-36 66 percent

2012-13 31-23 57 percent

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