As we near the midway point of the conference season, a lot of league races start to take shape and the Bracketologists get busy making their mock brackets.
But is it too soon?
In some leagues, you get an uneven road-home split in the first half of the schedule that leads to deceiving records.
Home-court advantage is no myth in college basketball. Stats guru Ken Pomeroy showed last season how much of an advantage has little to do with the venue, but it still exists.
"I don't think we make too much of home-court advantage," Pomeroy told me. "I think we make too much of Allen Fieldhouse has more of a home-court advantage than the United Spirit Arena. People may feel that there's a big difference from an arena to an arena. There's probably a difference, but it's really, really small."
Pomeroy's data taken over 10 years showed home court is worth about 3.76 points. He factors home court into his predictions for every game in combination with each team's efficiency numbers, and then the point spread is also influenced by the expected pace of the game.
For instance, North Carolina, who traditionally plays fast-paced, will have a wider spread than a team like Wisconsin that plays a much slower pace.
Looking at efficiency numbers often provides a clearer picture of a conference race than simply looking at the win-loss records, but the numbers do not factor in who is playing at home or on the road. (For a weekly look at efficiency numbers, check out John Gasaway's weekly "Tuesday Truths" at Basketball Prospectus.)
To see the influence of home and road games, I like to use a system I borrowed from David Moe, the son of legendary NBA coach Doug Moe. Moe's way of looking at the standings is simple. It rewards road wins and penalizes for home losses. A road win is worth one point, subtract a point for a home loss and home wins and road losses are worth zero.
Let's take a look at the six power conferences and see which teams we should buy, sell or wait and see.