Last night, SEC hoops saw a pair of upsets when Vanderbilt lost on the road to Mississippi State and South Carolina lost on the road to Missouri. Those results meant that, along with Texas A&M's victory over Ole Miss, home teams went 3-1 on the evening. Looking at the broader picture, maybe only 25% of the night's road teams winning shouldn't have been so surprising after all.
I pointed out last week that Arkansas is having a rough time with road games, but the Razorbacks are hardly alone. The fact of the matter is that the SEC is on pace for its worst cumulative road performance in a while.
Here is how league members have done on the road over the past decade, with the 2015-16 records reflecting games up through last night's action.
|Season||Cumulative Road Record||Teams .500+ on Road||Winless Road Teams|
It shouldn't be a surprise that teams generally have sub-.500 road records. Home court advantage is real. However, this year's SEC road record is the worst its been in the past ten years. The 2013-14 season gives it a run when you consider that the Florida team that went 32-3 logged a 10-2 road record; absent those Gators, the SEC went .241 in road play.
Of course right now, the SEC only has one team at or above .500—South Carolina is an even 4-4—and without it the record drops to a nearly indistinguishable .252. This year's conference also only has one team at or above .500 in road play right now, while 2013-14 at least had two. And while the 2006-07 SEC also only had one team at or above .500 (with two fewer conference members, it should be said), its cumulative road record at least was above .300.
It's not just that conference teams loaded up on tough road tests either. Kentucky is the highest rated team in the SEC in the KenPom ratings at No. 8, but it has road losses to No. 100 Tennessee and No. 204 Auburn. No. 55 LSU is tied with the 'Cats on top of the league standings, and it has road losses at No. 81 Houston, No. 104 College of Charleston, and No. 187 Charlotte. Reverse just one of the bad losses for those teams and they'd be at .500 in road play right now.
It goes on. No. 29 Vanderbilt has road losses at No. 85 Ole Miss and No. 92 Mississippi State. No. 33 Florida lost at Tennessee. No. 59 South Carolina has road losses to Tennessee and No. 168 Missouri.
And while that Missouri team is the only winless one on the road, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Auburn can only claim one more road win than those Tigers can right now. Arkansas's and MSU's sole road wins came over Mizzou, while Tennessee's came over MSU. Auburn's only road win was over No. 161 Coastal Carolina. Two more teams in the conference can only claim road wins over the SEC's bottom tier: Georgia (Missouri, MSU) and Vanderbilt (Tennessee, Auburn).
The season's not over, so there is still time for the conference members to pull out enough victories away from home to make the cumulative road record not look so bad. I won't be holding my breath, though.