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UNC's Road Losses Are Actually Pretty Normal

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UNC dropped another road game last night to a top 50 KenPom team. The Tar Heels were competitive, had chances to potentially win the game but undone by a series of little things. UNC has six losses on the season, five of those have come on the road and four against the KenPom Top 50. The question is how did that compare to the rest of the KenPom top ten? So glad you asked!

vs KenPom Top 50 vs Top 50 Home vs Top 50 Road vs Top 50 Neutral vs KenPom 50+ vs 50+ Home vs 50+ Away vs 50+ Neutral
Michigan St 7-4 5-1 1-3 1-0 17-1 8-1 5-0 4-0
Villanova 8-3 4-0 4-2 0-1 17-1 10-0 6-1 1-0
Virginia 10-3 7-0 2-3 1-0 12-3 7-0 2-3 3-0
Kansas 12-3 7-0 4-2 1-1 13-1 9-0 3-1 1-0
UNC 7-5 4-1 2-4 1-0 16-1 8-0 5-1 3-0
Oklahoma 9-6 7-1 1-5 1-0 13-0 7-0 4-0 2-0
Louisville 6-7 5-1 1-6 0-0 16-0 12-0 3-0 1-0
Wichita State 1-4 1-0 0-2 0-2 22-3 13-1 9-1 0-1
West Virginia 7-7 4-2 3-4 0-1 15-0 9-0 3-0 3-0
Kentucky 4-3 3-0 0-3 1-0 18-5 13-0 3-4 1-1
Total Record 71-45 47-6 18-34 6-5 159-15 96-2 43-11 19-1
Win PCT 61.21% 88.67%
34.62% 54.55% 91.37% 97.96% 79.63% 95.00%


UNC is 2-4 against the KenPom top 50 on the road with losses to Texas, Notre Dame, Louisville and Virginia. That mark is actually in line with how the rest of the top ten has fared against top 50 teams on the road. Just two teams in this group have winning records versus the top 50 on the road: Kansas and Villanova. As a group these teams win just 34% of the time when facing a top 50 team in a true or semi-away game and just 61% on all games. While the sample size on a neutral court is small, 6-5 is about what you would expect as is a 88.6% winning percentage at home.

When facing teams outside the top 50, this group does extremely well winning 91% of those games. The caveat here is many of these games include teams at the bottom of end Division I basketball. Even factoring that in the difference in winning percentage between 50+ games at home versus on the road is notable. This group wins at a 98% clip at home versus 50+ teams but on the road that winning percentage drops to 79%. That's still respectable but also shows that winning on the road in college basketball isn't even a sure thing when facing lesser teams. Virginia is a stark example of this. The Cavaliers are clearly a very good team but on the road has six losses this season with three coming against teams outside the top 50. UVa was also a banked three at the buzzer away from a fourth such loss.

The point here is not to necessarily excuse UNC's inability to figure out a way to win in these tough road games. However, five of UNC's losses have come in tough circumstances. Compared to the rest fo the top ten, UNC's road performances against elite teams is similar. The fact UNC has played close with top 50 teams on the road should bode well when these type so games occur on a neutral court.