There has been a lot of talk about Cameron not favoring the Blue Devils but the stats show something else.
Before you go thinking this is another shot at the Cameron Crazies it isn’t. In fact this will have very little to do with the fans.
It has been said countless times before this season but there is just something different about this year’s Duke team especially when they play at home. Fans have taken notice, even announcers. The ACC Networks’ Cory Alexander made mention of Duke not playing as well at home during Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech.
Cameron Indoor Stadium is arguably one of if not the toughest places to play in all of college basketball. Or at least it has been. This year it doesn’t appear that that is the case.
While a lot of the blame has gone on the lack of creativity, energy and or passion of the current crop of Cameron Crazies, this year’s team for whatever reason isn’t as good at home; or are they?
I wondered myself and decided to do a little research on the season and compare the performances at least statistically.
My hypothesis that despite the lopsided loss at Ohio State early this season, the Blue Devils have by far played their worst basketball on their own home court. But that was before I looked at the stats.
Duke is 25-4 overall on the season. They are 13-2 at home and 12-2 in games away from Cameron Indoor (neutral court games included). So by just the record there isn’t much of a difference but what about other stats, surely they would tell me that the Blue Devils aren’t as good at home.
But that really isn’t the case. Duke is shooting 46 percent from the floor in home and away games. The exact same percentage. Opponents are shooting worse at Cameron (41 percent) than on their home or neutral courts against Duke (45.7 percent).
And that isn’t the only stat that stands out to me. Duke is shooting virtually the same three point percentage at home (38.8 percent) and away (38.9 percent). The only stat where the Blue Devils appear to be doing significantly better is on the free throw line.
Duke is shooting 67.8 percent from the line at home and 71.9 percent on the road.
Well maybe then its how Duke is winning those games on the road versus at home? Think again.
Duke’s margin of victory including losses at home is 14.9 points. Take out the losses it is 17.8 points. On the road the margin is much less. With the losses it is only 6 points and without losses it is 9.25 points per win.
The way fans, myself included and the media have been portraying it you’d think those numbers would be reversed.
The Blue Devils are averaging 82 points per game at home and 75 points per game on the road. Their opponents are averaging 67.1 ppg in Cameron and 69.7 ppg away from Cameron.
Again the numbers are just not supporting that Duke is worse at home than on the road. Duke averages more fewer turnovers and more assists at home than on the road. They generate more steals at home then on the road.
The only statistical category that opponents are doing better at in Cameron than away is free throw shooting percentage.
Opponents are shooting 69.3 percent in Cameron versus 64.4 percent from the charity stripe.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit surprised that the statistical analysis showed that despite the feeling I had and that many others have had while watching this team this season.
This is simply a different team than Duke has had in years past but the results and the statistics don’t lie. Sure there are some outliers in both groups home and away. Duke has played fewer true road games, but a game away from Cameron is a game away from Cameron.
Statistics can obviously be manipulated to say whatever you want them to say but my intent when I set out to research this mysterious case of Duke’s inability to play as well at Cameron, was to show that they were in fact not playing as well.
The stats simply don’t yield those results.
So maybe it is just wishful thinking on the part of a Duke fan or perhaps all this talk about Duke not playing as well at home really is nothing but talk?
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