It’s always been hard to win basketball games on the road, but in the Southeastern Conference so far this season, being the visitor has been especially difficult.
Capped off by Alabama’s shocking 73-50 upset at home against 19th-ranked and previously unbeaten South Carolina, the conference team’s records away from their home arenas are, quite frankly, dismal.
Overall for the 2015-16 season, the fourteen teams making up the SEC are a combined 15- 41 in road games, including neutral sites, for a 26 percent winning record. Granted, some of that is the conference is making a concerted effort to beef up the pre-conference schedules to appeal to the committee when it becomes time to select and seed the NCAA basketball playoffs in March by scheduling more competitive matchups.
By contrast, the Pac 12 is winning on the road at a 44 percent clip, followed by the Atlantic Coast and the Big 12 at 41 percent and the Big 10 at 38 percent, among the so-called Power Five conferences.
But even since conference play began in January 2, the SEC teams are only six of 26 as the visiting team, even lower than the overall record, winning at a mere 23 percent of the road games. Undefeated in conference play through the first four games, Texas A&M is the only team in the SEC with two conference road wins, but even then, both wins came after hard-fought battles. The Aggies beat Mississippi State in Starkville by a score of 61-60, and followed with a 92-88 come-from-behind win over the Volunteers in Knoxville.
To be sure, the sample size is small with a total of only 56 road games being played by conference teams through January 13th, but the trend is noticeable. Even power-house Kentucky stands at 1-2 on the road, dropping an 18-point decision at LSU in conference play, after an early pre-conference loss at UCLA.
Will the road woes continue? Probably to some extent, but things may even out a little over the course of the season. There promises to be some interesting match-ups this weekend that will test the theory as No. 14 Kentucky faces the injury-plagued Auburn Tigers on the road. Also, No. 15 Texas A&M travels to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs, who are 9-2 at home with wins over Georgia Tech and Clemson, the latter an upset winner over No. 9 Duke last night.