Revisiting the Home Court Advantage in College Basketball

By Phillip Watkins.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Though the home court advantage in college basketball is universally recognized, it is not completely understood. Researchers have put forth many theories to explain the higher probability of victory for the home team, which fit into four basic categories: scheduling consideration, court familiarity, travel time, and crowd contribution. Statistical Methods were employed to test the validity of these theories and the following variables were analyzed: probability of victory during preconference and conference play; margin of victory for the home team for short, medium, and long road trips for visitors; shooting percentage of the home team and shooting percentage of the visiting team; and the difference between fouls, blocks, steals, etc. for the home team and the visiting team. These findings seem to indicate that easy preconference scheduling is inflating perception of the home court advantage. Also, travel considerations no longer adversely affect the visiting team. Furthermore, the home team doesn’t shoot significantly better long distance shots at their home court. Finally, the crowd does have a measurable effect on the performance of the home team, perhaps by spurring players to be more aggressive defenders or by influencing the referees.

Keywords: Basketball, Basketball Statistics, College Basketball, Home Court Advantage, Home Field Advantage, Margin of Victory, Possession based Statistics

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 3, Issue 1, 2012, pp.33-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.153MB).

Phillip Watkins

Graduate Student, Mathematics & Statistics Department, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, USA

Phillip Watkins received his Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from Texas A&M University in 2004. Upon completing his degree, he was gainfully employeed by Austin-based Multimedia Games, where he helped develop simulated slot machines that played on fixed ticket and bingo-based systems. In 2007, he left Multimedia Games to teach AP calculus at his alma mater, Hyde Park Baptist High School. In 2010, he returned to graduate school in Statistics at Texas Tech University, from which he graduated in December of 2011. His research interests include biostatistics and data mining. He currently works at the Clinical Research Institute of Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.