The Breslin Era: A Comprehensive Breakdown of MSU's Home Dominance

(Number-crunching always earns a bump. Great stuff here -Chris)

Back in December, I made a post about MSU's dominance against Big Ten opponents at the Breslin Center. While it was interesting to see the numbers showing how good MSU has been at home, it lacked the context of how it compared to the rest of the conference. Now, after many moons of painstaking research that allowed me to familiarize myself with the online media guides for every Big Ten school, I am happy to report that I have compiled the home conference records of every B1G school over the same 23-year time period that the Breslin Center has been open. Enjoy.

B1G Home Conference Records Since 1989-90

MSU: 163-34 (.827)
Wisconsin: 148-49 (.751)
Indiana: 148-49 (.751)
Illinois: 144-52 (.735)*
Purdue: 142-55 (.721)
OSU: 135-62 (.685)
Michigan: 128-69 (.650)
Minnesota: 122-75 (.619)
Iowa: 121-76 (.614)
PSU: 76-94 (.447)
Northwestern: 66-131 (.335)

This is the big picture look. MSU has been a full 15 games better at home than any other school in the conference since Breslin Center opened. There's a clear second tier of Wis/IU/Ill/Purdue, while OSU/UM/Minn/Iowa loosely make up a sort of third tier. And just how bad is that Northwestern record? Well, Penn State didn't join the Big Ten until the 1992-93 season, they've played 27 fewer home games, and they still have 10 more wins than the Wildcats.

* Illinois played a game in 2003 against Northwestern at the United Center, which is why they have 1 fewer game than the rest of the schools. I only counted true home games.

B1G Home Conference Records Since 1998-99

I'm including this as a separate category because this was the season two new B1G venues opened: Kohl Center* and Value City Arena. And if you are to follow the general perception of the media covering Big Ten basketball, you might think Wisconsin is something like 1,000 and 1 at home since the Kohl Center opened. Not quite:

MSU: 103-14 (.880)
Wisconsin: 102-15 (.872)
OSU: 93-24 (.795)
Illinois: 85-31 (.733)
Indiana: 82-35 (.701)
Purdue: 81-36 (.692)
Iowa: 67-50 (.573)
Michigan: 66-51 (.564)
Minnesota: 63-54 (.538)
Northwestern: 50-67 (.427)
PSU: 47-70 (.402)

You see that correctly. Over that same time period, MSU has been better at home than Wisconsin has, and both schools have been significantly better than everyone else.

* Oddly, Kohl actually opened in the middle of the 1997-98 season and Wisconsin went 1-5 in 6 home conference games that year. So technically, they are 103-20 (.837) all-time at Kohl, but for this purpose, I'm just counting full seasons.

Breakdown by Opponent: 1989-90 to Present

Now the really fun part. It's not a scatterplot, but I know how TOC loves graphical displays of data, so rather than listing out each team's individual records against all the other conference schools, I give you this multi-colored visual representation in table form:

B1G Grid

So many notes on this one:

  • Look at all that green in MSU's row. Winning percentage of .750 or higher against 8 of the 10 schools. The next highest is Wisconsin with 5.
  • Look at all that red in MSU's column. MSU actually has a winning record on the road against 4 schools. That's tied with Purdue for the most winning road records.
  • MSU is the only school with a winning record in Columbus (and a really good one at that: 11-6). MSU also has the best home record against OSU.
  • For all the recent grief MSU has gotten about playing in Madison, no other team has a better record playing there.
  • Everyone wins at Northwestern and pretty much everyone wins at Penn State, but MSU has the best record in both places.
  • IU's record in East Lansing is a total outlier compared to their performance everywhere else. To me, that is the single most impressive home record of any one school versus another school, given how good MSU and IU have been during this time period. IU has only won once at Breslin, and that happened in 1991. Purdue's home record against Wisconsin (17-2) is also very impressive.
  • Purdue has been a really good road team and is the only school to have winning records in Champaign and Ann Arbor.
  • For some reason Wisconsin struggles in Evanston, posting an even record at mighty Welsh-Ryan. On the other hand, they're the only school that has a winning record in Iowa City.
  • OSU's home record against Northwestern is the only perfect mark for any school (thanks to the miracle games of Kevin Coble and Talor Battle in East Lansing in '09 - yup, still bitter).
  • The school with the worst home record against Northwestern is .789.

I'd like to have something profound to say in conclusion here, but the 23 years of numbers do a pretty fantastic job of speaking for themselves. There's no place like The Bres.

This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.

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