The Impact of Home Court on Free Throw Attempts in the Big 12

USA TODAY Sports

Do all teams get helped by the refs at home?

With Kansas winning or sharing the last 8 league titles, naturally the talk of ref help has popped up a bit. It's only natural for fans to blame the refs a bit when in the midst of losing a game (I completely understand, and have done it in the heat of the moment) but that got me thinking about just how much help teams get from the refs.

It is a fairly commonly accepted notion that the home team will generally get the benefit of the doubt from the refs, but as Luke Winn pointed out in his latest edition of the power rankings, "The most common, in game Twitter complaint from fans seems to be that team X gets all the calls in its home arena."

I took Winn's table that he used nationally and I inserted all the Big 12 teams, trying to find which Big 12 teams got the most benefit of the doubt at home, and which the least. The results surprised me, and to most other Big 12 fans the table below will probably be analogous to finding out in the Middle Ages that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

OFFENSIVE DEFENSIVE
Team Home Away Difference Home Away Difference Total Advantage
Iowa State 25.2 18.4 6.8 18.3 28.3 10 16.8
Texas 29.1 21.2 7.9 25.4 32.2 6.8 14.7
West Virginia 31 26 5 23.4 29.5 6.1 11.1
Texas Tech 25.7 22.8 2.9 23.2 30.5 7.3 10.2
TCU 29.8 23.4 6.4 22 25.5 3.5 9.9
Oklahoma 24.6 22.6 2 17.4 23.7 6.3 8.3
Kansas State 26 21.2 4.8 22.4 25.7 3.3 8.1
Baylor 25.4 23.5 1.9 21 23.2 2.2 4.1
Oklahoma State 24.5 30.8 -6.3 18.3 28.5 10.2 3.9
Kansas 24.3 31.8 -7.5 22.5 22.4 -0.10 -7.6

Iowa State is the leader, but I wouldn't read too much into it: The Cyclones in general are much better at home than on the road, and don't go to the line much as a whole, so they likely get a bit of a boost from getting fouled at the end of the game and having to shoot free throws.

As it applies to Kansas: Basically what this table says is that Kansas attempts more free throws on the road than they do at home, and they send their opponents to the line more at home than on the road. So the next time someone tells you that the only reason Allen Fieldhouse is such a great environment is because it influences the refs, make sure to forward them this post.

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