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46 Days to Big Ten Basketball: Which Big Ten Team Had the Best Home Record?

No surprises here.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

For today's countdown piece we're taking a look at which Big Ten school had the best home record last season, as well as how they fared at home in conference play. The numbers can be seen below:

School Home Record Home Record in Conference Play
Maryland 18-1 9-0
Wisconsin 15-1 9-0
Ohio State 18-2 7-2
Purdue 14-3 8-1
Illinois 14-3 7-2
Indiana 15-4 6-3
Iowa 14-4 6-3
Michigan State 12-4 6-3
Minnesota 13-6 4-5
Michigan 12-6 6-3
Nebraska 10-6 5-4
Penn State 10-6 3-6
Northwestern 11-7 4-5
Rutgers 6-10 2-7

The list itself isn't a huge surprise, since the top teams obviously tend to have stronger records (less losses and what not) while the bottom of the conference tends to struggle. One of the talking points most seasons is that home field advantage is crucial in the Big Ten and that's clearly apparent as ten teams had a winning record at home in conference play, with two of the teams with losing records (Minnesota, Northwestern) going 4-5. The bottom two teams, Penn State and Rutgers, naturally ended up at the bottom of the conference.

To show how important home field advantage is (and how hard it is to win on the road), look at the bottom of the list. Nebraska had five home wins, Northwestern and Minnesota four, Penn State three and Rutgers two. While those numbers aren't the best compared to the other teams in the league, those five schools fared even worse on the road:

  • Nebraska, who went 5-4 at home, went 0-9 on the road
  • Northwestern and Minnesota won four games at home, but only went 2-7 away from their arenas
  • Penn State won only one road game, edging Minnesota in the regular season finale
  • Rutgers failed to win a single road game during the conference season
Looking at the top of the conference and you'll see the top teams were dominant at home, with both Wisconsin and Maryland going undefeated during conference play. Interestingly enough the two teams lost two home games, both to ACC schools (Duke, Virginia). Purdue, who inexplicably lost to North Florida and Gardner-Webb at home, took care of business in the second half of the season, only losing to Maryland early on in conference play. Even Illinois, a wildly inconsistent team last season, went 7-2 at home, a record better than Michigan State, Indiana and Iowa.

Home field advantage, mixed with the parity in the league witnessed last season, means that most games end up being wildly competitive regardless of who's playing. While it makes it difficult for teams to run the table, it creates for entertaining games throughout the week and makes the conference even more exciting to watch. Even more so, it creates opportunities for the lesser teams to beat more talented opposition.

That being said, it'll be interesting to see if Maryland will finally lose a Big Ten game at home this season...and if Rutgers can finally win a Big Ten game on the road. Both schools are being predicted to more or less replicate what they did last season, with Maryland actually set to build on last year's impressive debut.

When everything is said and done, winning on the road is tough and that holds even truer in the Big Ten. While no one wants to head to the Kohl Center or out east to the Xfinity Center, even middle of the pack programs like Illinois (and even Nebraska) provide colossal problems for most visiting programs. We'll probably see more of the same in 2016, with the teams that find ways to win on the road set to contend for a Big Ten title.