One question heading into Summit League conference play was the schedule change which moved to two-game home sets versus the traditional home and away series. In basketball, would there be more splits as teams figured out their foes on the first night? Interestingly, there have been 22 sweeps and 11 splits during this COVID-19 interrupted season in Summit League play.
The results further show that, not surprisingly, good teams sweep bad teams, and middle of the pack teams get splits to stay in the middle of the pack. There does not appear to be an advantage to mediocre to poor teams who have an extra game to ‘figure out’ the better team’s weaknesses.
Granted, this season there is a limited home-court advantage in most venues during COVID-19 but two-game sets may be a viable alternative to reduce travel expenses and maintain competitive balance once venues and teams return to normal. College Hockey has employed two-game series against the same opponent for quite some time and the results are similar to the ones you see above – good teams win, average teams split, and bad teams lose.
North Dakota comes to Hamilton gym Friday at noon to begin a two-game set against Denver. The 4th-place Fighting Hawks, based on current trends, should either split or sweep last-place DU in the series if the above chart holds up. With four two-game series remaining, the Pioneers are at risk of finishing in ninth place and falling out of the conference tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota yet again.
𝒩𝐸𝒲 𝐸𝒫𝐼𝒮𝒪𝒟𝐸 𝒜𝐿𝐸𝑅𝒯
— Denver Men's Hoops (@DU_MHoops) February 4, 2021
Assuming no issues with COVID-19, Denver should see all their players return to the court, including big man Robert Jones. Unfortunately, DU’s practices have been disrupted by COVID-19 impacts and they have had limited on-court practice time. North Dakota has played all their conference games and is coming off a home split with Western Illinois.