The Problem with Gardiner.

by Maine Basketball Rankings

Maybe you’ve heard, maybe you haven’t, but Gardiner doesn’t exactly have a gym anymore. That storm that took out your power for a couple of days? Well, it took out the roof of the gym at Gardiner High School, which then allowed it to dump a lot of water on the floor and, well, you get the idea.
So Gardiner doesn’t exactly have a gym at the moment. By all accounts, the people at Gardiner and the surrounding schools have done a fantastic job pulling together in an unusual situation to come up with a solution, which is to have Gardiner play their home games at the Augusta Civic Center. This, if you’re on Gardiner’s team (or even on their schedule), is a pretty cool solution, and the ACC is only 12.8 miles from the high school, so it’s hardly a major inconvenience. You could do a lot worse.
Of course, for our purposes, this is a bit of a conundrum. The ACC is a neutral floor. More importantly, it’s the neutral floor Gardiner will play on in the Tournament. The NCAA, for example, won’t let you play a tournament game at a site where you’ve played 3 times. So to play 9 times? It’s hard to argue that’s a neutral site.
There’s a couple of ways to handle this:
1. Ignore it
I don’t see how this is a viable option. Home Court Advantage is pretty well documented. 9 games is a lot of games to have played in a gym. The MPA allows teams in the state game a practice on the floor, specifically because of this concern. It’s a thing. You can’t ignore it.
Normally, I’d lead the "Gardiner can’t play on their home floor!!!" brigade, but these are special circumstances.
<rant>
Portland should never ever ever ever ever be allowed to play a tourney game at the Expo. Ever. It’s a travesty that this is even considered.
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2. All the Home Court
This option is simple: the ACC is Gardiner’s home court now. They own it. Paint an orange paw on the wood, give Munzing Media a VIP section, and call it a day.
This is better than option 1, but it’s not great. That first game at the ACC (December 12th vs. Leavitt for the boys; December 15th against Cony for the girls) should effectively be a neutral floor game.
3. A Little Bit of Column A…
This is where I think we’ll end up.
That first game will be a neutral floor game. The tournament games will not. By that point they’ll definitely have a home court advantage, and at the best possible time.
I’ll tweak the details, but it’ll look a little like this: every game Gardiner plays at the ACC will impact their HCA a little bit. Think of it as a sliding scale. Game 2 will be a little stronger than Game 1. At some point, it’ll be their home floor. My gut says after 4 or 5 games, but I’ll have to dig a little bit.
Thing is, this will impact other teams. So if you play a game at Bangor in the regular season, you might get a slight HCA in the tourney over a team that didn’t. It complicates things, but it’s the only fair way to do it.

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