It is no secret that SEC basketball teams typically win at home and lose on the road. That's why, during my days as a sports writer for The Knoxville Journal, I built this trend into a ratings system I call the Home-Road Factor. It's based on the premise that home wins and road losses are the norm. Thus, the H-R Factor focuses merely on road wins and home losses. Awarding two points for each road win and deducting two for each home loss gives a clearer picture of where each team stands in relation to its divisional foes than traditional standings.
Each SEC team has a Home-Road rating of zero until it wins a road game (moving to Plus-2) or loses a home game (dropping to Minus-2).
Ultimately, the H-R rating is a projection of how many games over/under .500 you will finish if you win your remaining home games and lose your remaining road games. Plus-4 would be four games over .500 or 10-6. Plus-2 would be two games over .500 or 9-7. Conversely, minus-four would be 6-10 and minus-2 would be 7-9. A rating of Zero, of course, means you're on pace to finish 8-8.
A win at Auburn on Saturday would've given Tennessee a Home-Road rating of plus-4, putting the Vols on pace to go 10-6 in SEC play and 19-11 overall. That should be good enough for an NCAA Tournament bid.
By losing at Auburn, Tennessee has a Home-Road rating of plus-2, meaning the Vols are on track to finish 9-7 and 18-12. That puts them on the NCAA bubble with South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi State – all of whom have better overall records. Tennessee might get an invitation to The Dance at 18-12 and 9-7 but I wouldn't bet the house on it.
That said, here's a look at the newest SEC Home-Road ratings:
Florida 4-0 home 2-2 road 6-2 total .... PLUS-4
S.Carolina 4-0 home 1-3 road 5-3 total .... PLUS-2
Kentucky 2-2 home 3-1 road 5-3 total .... PLUS-2
Tennessee 2-2 home 3-1 road 5-3 total .... PLUS-2
Vanderbilt 3-2 home 1-3 road 4-5 total .... MINUS-2
Georgia 0-4 home 0-4 road 0-8 total .... MINUS-8
Louisiana St. 4-0 home 3-1 road 7-1 total .... PLUS-6
Miss. State 3-1 home 3-1 road 6-2 total .... PLUS-4
Ole Miss 3-1 home 1-4 road 4-5 total .... ZERO
Auburn 2-2 home 1-3 road 3-5 total .... MINUS-2
Alabama 3-1 home 0-5 road 3-6 total .... MINUS-2
Arkansas 1-3 home 0-4 road 1-7 total .... MINUS-6