It was a “trend” that I first noticed last season, most likely because it was emphasized by what ended up to be a pretty unbalanced schedule. It has seemed to continue so far this season nine games into the conference slate. It is to the point that it is obvious enough that a few folks have picked up on it as well. That is the Cyclones road record in games played during the week vs games played on the weekend.
In 2012 conference road games Iowa State was 4-0 when they played weekend road games and 0-5 when they played during the week on the road. The key point about the unbalanced schedule is this; of those four road wins on the weekend they came against the 10th, 9th, 8th, and 5th place teams in the Big 12. Clearly that was a factor.
Of course my curious mind wanted to know more so I started digging. Can you guess when the last conference road win for ISU happened that wasn’t played on a weekend? Let me tell you who the top three scorers were for Iowa State with 22, 19, and 14 points, respectively. Wesley Johnson, Mike Taylor, and Corey McIntosh and the win happened on February 26th, 2007 in Lincoln, Nebraska where the Cyclones came out on top 69-63. Also in that game Taylor had a pretty sweet 360 degree tomahawk on a steal and fast break.
Since that game the Cyclones have played 22 road games in the Big 12 (including this season) and they have lost them all. In the past 41 games that fit that criteria (including this season) the Cyclones have won just four of those games. 4-37.
The most recent was that aforementioned win in Lincoln the next two came in 2005-06 against Missouri and Nebraska. That 4th win dates all the way back to 2001 where the Big 12 Champion Iowa State Cyclones won in Manhattan 62-51.
There are a few directions to go with all of this. Maybe it is happenstance and how the schedule has broken down with the tougher games coming during the week more often than not. After all, I don’t easily have the ability to compare these numbers to other teams or at least other Big 12 teams. Perhaps there is something to the midweek travel for basketball players that are in fact “student athletes”…at least most of the time.
Maybe it is that or maybe it is Iowa State being one of the teams on the outskirts of the Big 12 conference, geographically speaking. No matter the reasoning I don’t have the answers now but I do have the questions and some more numbers to share.
So I broke down the conference games in to four categories for the past 50 seasons and then broke them down in ten year segments by win – loss record in games played on the road during the week and on the weekend and games played at home during the week and weekend. (Note that these tables do not include the results from this season.)
The first line is the summation of the past 50 seasons while the next five lines to follow is the record for the identified ten season span.
First thing you’ll notice is that in the past 50 years ISU does have a slightly better road record on the weekend. However, of the next five eras only two of them have obviously better records on the weekend—1973-82 & 2003-12. The comparison for home games isn’t the point of the analysis but it is included for your enjoyment. But there again aren’t any obvious trends when broken down like that.
Another similar but different angle I took is to look at how each coach has fared at Iowa State, all the way back to Louis Menze—that is the last 13 coaches for the Cyclone basketball program.
Seven of the thirteen coaches had better records in road games on the weekend than road games during the week. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go ahead and tab this current lull as an anomaly much more than anything else.
A tough weekday road win will be had sooner or later, perhaps next week at Texas this current trend can be bucked. For your reference, each of the past 50 seasons is in the sortable table below showing just their weekday and weekend road games win and loss record and corresponding win percentage.