Playing basketball in a dome vs arena

popeurban's picture
March 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I am not going to jinx us and predict Ohio State going to the Final Four; rather, this is about teams playing in domes in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games having an advantage against teams that played their Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in more traditional arenas.  This year Ohio State, Wichita State, Marquette and Syracuse all played in more traditional arenas whereas Louisville, Michigan, and the winners of Florida vs FGCU and MSU vs Duke play in large domes similar to Atlanta and this years Final Four. 
From last years NCAA Tournament USA Today reports:

Every one of the 10 teams that played in domed arenas in the tournament the past three weeks shot worse behind the line there than they did in earlier tournament games in non-domes. Eight of the 10 shot worse overall in domes than they did in both the regular season and in NCAA games in conventional arenas.
The numbers, analyzed by USA TODAY, parallel those in the previous two tournaments. While the higher caliber of competition also must be taken into account as teams reach regionals and the Final Four, conspicuous drops in shooting percentages in games played in made-for-football domes underscore questions about the impact of the more spacious settings and unconventional shooting sightlines.
In eight games in domes in this tournament – in Atlanta, St. Louis and now New Orleans – teams have hit a little less than 30% of their three-point attempts (down from a collective 35% during the regular season and 41% in non-dome tournament games). They've shot just 42% from the field overall (down from better than 46% in both the regular season and NCAA games in smaller facilities).
They went on in another article to point out that over the 2011 and 2012 tournaments:

•Overall shooting: 37% in domes a year ago, down from a combined 46% for those same teams during the regular season and almost 47% in non-dome tournament games.
•Three-point shooting: 31% in domes, down from the teams' 37% during the regular season and 38%-plus in non-dome tournament games.
•Free throw shooting: down from 71% during the regular season and in non-dome tournament games to 67% in domes.
It would seem to me that the teams playing their Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in a more traditional arena would be at a disadvantage to the teams that played their Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in a dome similar to Atlanta.  The rationale being that the teams that played their two previos tournament games in a dome would be more familiar with the game time experience.  This year, our beloved Buckeyes would be one of those teams if they win against Wichita State.  I am sure their is data somewhere that gives the larger trend of dome play since it has been the norm since 1997, but I did not look any further than the info posted above.
While I do not like the poorer play in domes on TV, or watching it in person, it seems that if the NCAA- in all of its wisdom- deems it necessary to play the Final Four in domes because of ticket demand, then all teams should enter the Final Four on equal footing.  As it is, they have a rotation where locations get the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games to prepare for their upcoming turn at the Final Four.  
What are your thoughts?  Am I looking too much into this?  Does anyone else feel the quality/integrity of the games are diminished by dome play?

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