Saturday, January 7, 2023

Best 25 College Basketball Teams on the Road

Look for the feature story on the CBS Sports Site Dodds on Sports that will run down the top road teams in the country.

This blog is a link for anyone who wants to look further down the list of the best road teams this year, or for the fellow stat geeks who want to read the way kenpom calculations are made - below these lists.
RnkTop 25 Road WarriorsSoS         WinsLoss  MarginAway kenpom
1Kansas20.33015.0              35.3
7Oklahoma St.16.8226.823.5
10West Virginia16.2234.020.2
12Kansas St.16.5223.019.5
14San Diego St.10.7308.719.3
21Penn St.18.712-0.718.0
22Seton Hall23.024-6.316.7
23Utah St.5.73010.716.3
24New Mexico10.5315.516.0
RnkOthers QualifiedSoSWinsLossMarginAway kenpom
28Iowa St.19.321-4.714.7
31FL Atlantic5.4417.613.0
32Sam Houston St.11.3531.112.4
33North Carolina15.813-3.512.3
34Washington St.14.917-6.18.8
36Va Tech10.003-3.07.0
38Weber St.8.925-5.43.4
39Southern Illinois4.544-1.43.1
40Colorado St.16.214-13.23.0
42Northwestern St.6.845-8.9-2.1
RnkOnly 1 or 2 road gamesSoSWinsLossMarginAway kenpom
 Saint Mary's24.511-1.023.5
 Ohio St.19.5113.523.0
 Texas Tech20.001-6.014.0

These would be the standings (give or take a rounding error) if teams were rated using Ken Pomeroy's method but only based on the road games they played this year. Too often a team looks really dominant at home in a few early games, and then cannot handle hostile crowds. On the flip side, the teams that can handle the pressure of a hostile crowd seem more likely to handle the pressure of March Madness.

The 42 teams we did calculated fit one of two categories:

1. One of the 30 teams who were both in the overall Top 40 AND played at least three road games, or

2. One of the 12 teams who are not in top 40 but have won a road game at a Top 40 team AND have played at least three road games.

It is very unlikely any other teams we did not calculate would be in the Top 20.

There are 10 teams who are in the top 40 at but have NOT played three road games yet, so we list them at the bottom. The Texas Longhorns ranking of 26.0 in the bottom set of teams would rank them 6th in our road Top 25, but based on only two games we want to wait until they get their tough road tests in Big 12 player shortly.

How we simulated KenPom's rankings:

SoS - the strength of schedule is the average AdjME for the team's road games today rounded to the nearest number. The number on this table is then increased by +4 to give credit for the four point edge to the home team opponent, and we did include "semi-road" games but in that case only two points were added to the SoS.

For example, our #1 road team Kansas played road games at Missouri, West Virginia and Texas Tech, and those three teams average a 16.3 AdjEM at However, because these are all true road games, we add +4 to each and the average comes out to 20.3. 

Not only did Kansas beat all three, but they averaged beating them by 15.0 points, so the kenpom system adds the SoS and the margin of the scores, and together the rating if only road games were counted would be 35.3 - making Kansas the best team in the country in this small sample.

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