Three members have asked me in the last couple weeks about whether having a good road/neutral record has an impact on tourney performance. I finally got some time tonight to do a quick PASE analysis on the subject. I’m glad Robbie and AC and Rick encouraged me to investigate this.
I only have road/neutral records going back to 2005, but I was able to do the analysis two ways:
- I found the median difference between each seed’s overall winning percentage and its road/neutral percentage, then calculated the PASE of teams below the median. My logic is that the teams whose away record is closest to their overall record are the better road warriors.
- I took the top six seeds and calculated their PASE against a sliding scale of overall/away winning percentage differences.
Here’s what I discovered with the first analysis:
- 1 seed (below median .084 overall/away winning rate difference) +.063 PASE
- 2 seed (below median .114 difference) +.063
- 3 seed (below median .130 difference) +.406
- 4 seed (below median .135 difference) +.156
- 5 seed (below median .150 difference) -.473
- 6 seed (below median .157 difference) -.313
- 7 seed (below median .160 difference) +.031
- 8 seed (below median .165 difference) +.156
- 9 seed (below median .150 difference) -.063
- 10 seed (below median .165 difference) +.031
- 11 seed (below median .148 difference) +.156
- 12 seed (below median .130 difference) +.063
If you take the teams with away records below the median in terms of their difference to their overall record, they perform just +.004 above seed expectations. But most of the underachievement happens at two seed positions—the fifth and sixth seeds. For them, overachievement means beating threes and fours. So they may be losing at the expense of other good road warriors. If you just focused on the one through four seeds below median overall/away wining percentage difference, those squads overachieve at a +.172 PASE rate. So it’s fair to say that playing well on the road does correlate with overachievement in the tourney, at least for the highest four seeds.
I figured I’d take the analysis one step further and calculate whether the tourney performance of teams improved with corresponding improvements in their away records. I took the top six seeds and did a PASE analysis for six ranges of differences between overall and away records—less than a .150 difference, less than .125, less than .100, less than .075, less than .050 and less than a .025 difference. Here’s what I discovered:
There were 119 one through six seeds with less than a .150 difference between their overall and road record. They were actually -.039 PASE underperformers. The 94 high seeds with overall/road record differences of less than .125 were slight +.024 PASE overachievers, while those with differences less than .100 were slight -.020 underachievers. Once the overall/road record difference gets less than that, however, the rate of overachievement among high seeds accelerates. The 50 teams with a differential of less than .075 are +.074 PASE overperformers—and the 34 teams with a overall/road difference of less than .050 are sizable +.342 PASE overachievers.
Bottom line: I’m going to keep my eye on the road/neutral records of the higher seeds. They may just help me determine which among them are more likely to beat seed expectations.