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Home field not much of an advantage in Big 12

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Home field not much of an advantage in Big 12

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) There's proving to be no home-field advantage in the Big 12 this season.

Road teams are on track to have a winning record for the first time in the conference's history, taking 16 of 27 games so far this year for a .593 winning percentage. That's almost an exact reversal of the historical trend, with home teams winning at a .594 clip over the league's first 16 years.

``It's a little mind-boggling. It's just the strength of the teams. You can pretty much win anywhere,'' said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who understands the trend more than anyone else.

``Two of our conference games, we've won on the road and we've lost a couple at home. So, you just don't know. It just depends on the frame of mind of your players and how they handle pressure and how they handle travel.''

TCU has had a bewildering season, too, by going 3-1 on the road in the Big 12 while starting out 0-2 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in its first season in the league. The Horned Frogs had won 40 of 43 games over the previous eight seasons and hadn't lost back-to-back home games in the same year since 1998.

``I think we've even played better on the road because on the road you're playing in front of crowds of 50,000 to 85,000 or 90,000 people and I think your kids get more jazzed up to play in those kind of games,'' Frogs coach Gary Patterson said Monday.

Only No. 3 Kansas State hasn't lost at home in conference play this season. The undefeated Wildcats are also 3-0 on the road with wins at Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia heading into back-to-back road games at TCU and Baylor.

``I just believe it's a tough league and that everybody's good, and if you're not at your best or you happen to make a few turnovers or something, you're going to be on the wrong end of it,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.

Stoops' Sooners were once nearly invincible at home, having won 70 of his first 72 games on Owen Field and putting together a 39-game home winning streak that was the longest in the nation. But Oklahoma has lost three of its last seven home games heading into this Saturday's game against Baylor.

The two losses this season have come against Kansas State and Notre Dame, two of the nation's top four teams.

``We've been here for 14 years. We've got a decent home record. You're not going to win every one at home for 14 years,'' Stoops said.

``Our home-field advantage is pretty decent. All of a sudden, now, we can't win at home? OK, yeah. Well, I don't buy any of that.''

It is an unusual turn not only for Oklahoma but across the league. The best finish for visitors was a .500 mark in both the inaugural Big 12 season in 1996 and again in 2010. Last season, road teams were 18-24.

The worst times for visitors came in 2003 (15-32), 2005 (15-31), 1998 (15-31) and 1999 (16-31) when home teams were winning about two-thirds of the time.

For whatever reason, the tables have turned so far in 2012. Iowa State's Paul Rhoads reasoned that perhaps the widespread usage of the no-huddle is helping.

``You're doing more things by signaling and so forth, it probably takes the crowd noise and that part of it and at least minimizes it a little bit,'' he said.

Maybe it's no coincidence that this is also the first year of a new Big 12 policy that has restricted the crowd's use of certain noisemakers - such as Oklahoma State's ``Paddle People,'' who bang on a padded wall near the west end zone - once teams are lined up.

``I think this is such a competitive league and it's one of those things where it's just factual: Anybody can beat anybody on any given day,'' Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said.

Of course, there's still plenty of time for the trend to be turned on its head over the final month of the season.

``I think it's important that you kind of understand it's probably a little bit of a home-field advantage when you're playing at home just for travel purposes, but not in terms of playing when the game's played,'' Tuberville said. ``You're going to get the best out of both teams.''

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:

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Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two guys have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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