Sticking close to home has numerous advantages in most any college sport, from the familiarity of the surroundings, the support of sympathetic fans, and the ease with which class assignments and attendance can be addressed. This is usually rendered in simplest terms, as in getting to sleep in one’s own bed.
(Staying at home usually is advantageous for pros too, although familiarity may breed uncomfortable contempt where booing and other forms of derision are part of the culture for a chronically win-deficient franchise.)
Home fans obviously buoy the spirits of their favorites, which in some locales can be worth several points in the final score. Then there’s the intimidation factor, fed by the mystiques of a few mid-20th century basketball arenas such as Cameron Indoor Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse at Kansas, and a few other select sites where historic success and student sound combine to devastating effect.
Astute players also learn quirks of the floor on which they practice and play. For instance, according to Coastal Sports Flooring, a company in Encino, Ca., so-called “dead spots” – areas in which a ball may not bounce to a height consistent with surrounding locations – may occur on any maple wood floor. These result from changes in “subfloor configurations” caused by such factors as seasonal changes in moisture content.
Maneuver the player you’re guarding into a compromised position, wait for the erratic bounce, and a deflection or steal may be the result.
Whatever the edge gained by staying home, clearly it’s coveted by teams the world over. Unless, of course, there’s a need to raise revenue by journeying around the sports galaxy gathering game guarantees, as was done by schools such as N.C. Central and Presbyterian when they decided to compete at the Division I level.
ACC Men’s Home Games Since Latest Expansion