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Drake athletes assess the validity of home-field advantage

STORY BY EMILY LAMBIE

MEN’S BASKETBALL faced off with Wichita State on New Year’s Eve in front of a crowd of 4,170 at the Knapp Center earlier this season, the second biggest turnout of the 2014-2015 season. Home court advantage has spelled good news for the Bulldogs thus far in the season, 8-5 at home as opposed to 1-10 on the road, but they still fell to the Shockers 58-66. JOEL VENZKE | PHOTO EDITOR

MEN’S BASKETBALL faced off with Wichita State on New Year’s Eve in front of a crowd of 4,170 at the Knapp Center earlier this season, the second biggest turnout of the 2014-2015 season. Home court advantage has spelled good news for the Bulldogs thus far in the season, 8-5 at home as opposed to 1-10 on the road, but they still fell to the Shockers 58-66. JOEL VENZKE | PHOTO EDITOR

In the world of sports, travel is inevitable. This has led to the concept of home field advantage, the idea that teams at home are more likely to win than when they are on the road, and the research seems to support this superstition. The atmosphere is different and so is the attitude towards the game.

Harvard professor Jeremy Jamison developed a study based on home advantage, looking into sports ranging from baseball to rugby to cricket, and found strong correlations between playing at home and win percentage.

Drake University athletes may not know the statistics, but agree that home advantage does have an effect on the outcome of the game.

Redshirt senior Gary Ricks Jr. is a guard for the Men’s Basketball team and feels that playing on the road brings a different atmosphere as opposed to playing at home.

“At home it’s not just your team. It’s your coaches there. Your family could be there. The fans are there and you feel like you’re doing it a lot more than just your team,” Ricks said.

Ricks was not the only one who believed that playing at home versus playing in another town really plays a role in the atmosphere and overall outcome of the game.

Fifth-year senior Brad Duwe is a defensive back for the Bulldogs football team. He believes that home field advantage is real and has experienced it firsthand.

“I think the atmosphere is different with the conference. But it’s a big comfort thing, playing at home, playing in front of your fans, a little more confident than when you’re on the road,” Duwe said.

Outside hitter Capris Quaites, a sophomore for Drake’s volleyball team, described how the energy is different at home events, as well as other factors that play into home advantage.

“The size of the arena, sometimes larger arenas can be a little intimidating, and maybe being in a smaller arena would be more comfortable, but here we have one of the larger arenas in the conference and I guess just being here, since we know the people, it’s not as intimidating,” Quaites said.

Having home field advantage is certainly a boost, but that is what makes road wins all the more significant.

“It’s just something different, you know, (if you’re) on the road and you’re down, it’s more of a fight and you feel like you’re all alone,” Ricks said.

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