With the team heading on the road, I began to wonder if Kansas is capable of winning nine straight away from Allen Field House. We know the Jayhawks are almost impossible to beat at home while both of their losses this year came on the road. Throw in the early season struggles with Memphis and UCLA outside of Lawrence and I think it's a valid question. The problem comes with how to accurately judge the results of the home and road games. Do they play better defense at home with the energy of the fans behind them or do they shoot better at home? Is there any way to tell?
In an attempt to judge their results this season, I separated all the home and away games and then found the efficiency margin for each game (KU points per possession - opponent points per possession). At first I wanted to eliminate all teams that were outside of KenPom's Top 100, but that gives a very small sample and makes comparisons a little tougher. Below are the numbers for home and road games for this season. At the bottom, I compared the numbers to the last four National Championship teams just to see if they're in the same ballpark.
|@StL vs Mem||0.86||0.83||0.03|
|@ KC vsLAS||1.27||0.92||0.35|
Kansas did score more efficiently at home while also holding their opponents to fewer points per possession. However, there are a few things to keep in mind about that. First, the home games include all of the early season cupcakes. Second, the road games include the two losses, so it's going to be lower. One other item of note on the home/road split, Kansas does shoot better at home. Their 3 pt% at home was 42.7 and their effective field goal percentage was 57. The road numbers drop to 37.2% from the 3 point line and their eFG% drops to 52.
Recent National Champions
|2009 UNC Home||1.21||0.94||0.27|
|2009 UNC Road||1.18||0.98||0.2|
|2008 KU Home||1.23||0.82||0.41|
|2008 KU Road||1.07||0.96||0.11|
|2007 FLA Home||1.22||0.88||0.34|
|2007 FLA Road||1.1||1.01||0.09|
|2006 FLA Home||1.18||0.88||0.3|
|2006 FLA Road||1.11||1.03||0.08|
Last year's North Carolina team performed about the same at home and on the road. The other three teams had a split very similar to this year's Kansas team. Also note the opponent points per possession for all of the road games, the 2009-2010 Jayhawks tied the 2008 team for the lowest number. It's way too little data to draw any meaningful conclusions but it does make me feel a little bit better about going on the road over the next month.
-All numbers from Statsheet