Over the last five years, no SEC basketball team has had as severe a bipolar personality as the Arkansas Razorbacks. This was confirmed on Saturday, when the Hogs stumbled through a loss at Vanderbilt only three days after defeating #2 Florida at home.
Indeed, as the numbers point out below, no SEC team has had as large a discrepancy between its home and road winning percentages as the Hogs over the last five years. I compared Arkansas with the other three SEC teams at the bottom of the road wins barrel in that time period and found:
On average, the Hogs win 14% of their road games, compared to the second-lowest teams, Auburn and South Carolina, at 23%.
Yet, it’s not as if Arkansas has been an overall horrible team, which is normally expected from teams which play so woefully on the road.
Arkansas, on average, wins 77% of its home games, a full 10% more than Georgia, the second-best team at home in our small pool.
The difference between Arkansas’ home and road winning percentage averages is 63%*, which is very extreme.
As a point of comparsion, consider a few years ago Maryland had the largest discrepancy in the ACC between home win percentage and road/neutral court win percentage. It was only 39.2%.
The NFL’s largest such discrepancy for the years 2003-2013 came from Detroit. The Lions won 21.2% percent more of their home games vs. road games in that decade.
Quite a few teams go winless on the road during a particular season, but you rarely see a team so persistently bad on the road as Arkansas. Especially when that same team is winning so many games at home.
Why do you think Arkansas has such an enduring road problem over the years despite head coach and roster changes ? My best guess is that whatever the problem is – whether it’s a certain attitude, or lack thereof – it keeps getting passed on from upperclassmen to underclassmen year after year.
I wonder: Should the athletic program invest in a sports psychologist to address the issue?
*To get this number, I averaged the single season win percentages. I did not add the total number of wins and games played over the five-year period.