Road Records in the Tournament Combat the Anti-Hoosiers Narrative

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JANUARY 08: The Indiana Hoosiers warm up before taking on the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center on January 8, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. The Indiana Hoosiers won, 88-82. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Alright I’m tired of hearing it. Honestly, I can’t take it anymore. Indiana’s road record on the season is apparently a sign that they can’t win at a neutral site, so we’re going to put this crap to bed once and for all. The following is a list of the top 20 seeded teams in the NCAA tournament, followed up by their record on the road and then their record on the road against tournament quality teams (top 50 RPI).

1a Kentucky | 14-2 |4-2

1b Syracuse | 12-2 | 5-2

1c Michigan State | 10-6 | 6-4

1d North Carolina | 12-4 | 4-4

2a Ohio State | 9-5 | 4-4

2b Missouri | 14-3 | 7-2

2c Kansas |11-5 | 4-5

2d Duke |14-3 | 5-3

3a Florida State | 9-7 | 4-4

3b Georgetown | 7-7 | 3-4

3c Baylor | 13-4 | 6-4

3d Marquette | 10-6| 2-5

4a Wisconsin | 10-5 | 4-4

4b Michigan | 9-8 | 2-5

4c Indiana | 7-7 | 3-5

4d Louisville | 10-5 | 3-4

5a Wichita State | 12 -4 | 1-2

5b New Mexico | 13-4 | 3-2

5c Vanderbilt | 11-5 | 4-3

5d Temple | 13-6 | 3-2

What does this list tell us about the top 20 seeds in this year’s tournament? Nothing that we haven’t known for a long time. It turns out that it is incredibly hard to go on the road and face another DI team. Much less go and take on a tournament caliber team. Indiana specifically has five losses on the road to tournament quality opponents. Who are those tourney quality opponents? Well only the four teams in the conference that finished ahead of IU and are seeded higher in the tournament. In turn, IU has also beat every single one of those teams outside of Wisconsin at some point in the season.

In total, 11 of the top 20 seeds in this year’s tournament have a .500 record or less against the best of the best on the road. You read that right, only nine teams in the tournaments upper echelon have winning records on the road against quality opponents. Five of those nine are 1 or 2 seeds. Three of the nine are 5 seeds and mid-majors and the other plus .500 is 3 seeded Baylor.

In the end, we’ve learned that using a team’s road record is hardly an accurate way to judge a team’s ability in the tournament. If such a record was meaningful in the tournament then expect it to be pretty boring. We should all pick Syracuse, Kentucky, Ohio State and Missouri for the Final Four because by the road record standard they’re the only top seeds that matter.

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