Lawrence: Capping NCAAB home finales
With March now upon us, the 2013 NCAA Tournament will begin its annual pulse-pounding extravaganza. But before we take in all the excitement, the final portion of the regular season has to be played out as teams jockey for position prior to conference-seeding tournament action. As you know, the higher the finish in the regular season standings the better the slotting a team gains in conference tourney play. And with it comes my favorite time of the regular season, namely college basketball’s last home games.
Home teams are always motivated for finales. This happens primarily because teams choose to honor outgoing seniors in their final home game. It is 'their day', a game played in recognition of the sweat and toil laid on the line by seniors on the squad in their four years at the university. These games also carry added significance from other emotional angles as well.
Most teams look to leave a favorable impression in their final home game of the season. Adding fuel to the fire, revenge is a great performance enhancer in last home-game scenarios. Playing off a loss (or a string of defeats) tends to bring out the best in these finales. So does playing in the role of an underdog, especially when it involves winning teams. In fact, a search of my powerful database shows double digit (+10 or more points) conference underdogs in their final home game of the season are a rather nifty 74-55-3 ATS since 1990 heading into this season. Bring these guys in off either a double-digit spread win or a double-digit spread loss and they zoom to 17-5-1 ATS and 20-6-1 ATS respectively.
Think about that. As bad as they are, even double-digit home underdogs get up for their last home game of the season, beating the spread over 57 percent of the time on the blind.
Let me leave you with this list of 100% perfect ATS performers in last home games and a few schools to fade in the finale. A minimum of five years of results was necessary to qualify.
ST. BONAVENTURE 5-0
TOWSON ST 5-0
BALL ST 0-7
FYI: Ohio University leads all teams long-term in last home games, going 14-1 ATS. On the flip side, the biggest long-term loser is currently Duquesne at 1-11-1 ATS.
Enjoy the games...