November 20, 2013
Is this Kentucky's best rebounding team under John Calipari?
He thinks so.
And the numbers prove him right, especially on the offensive end.
On that side of the ball, Kentucky has successfully grabbed 90 of a possible 180 offensive rebounding chances (50 percent).
Here are the offensive rebounding percentages of each of his UK teams through their first five games:
2012-13: 45 of a possible 145 offensive rebounds (31 percent).
2011-12: 61 of a possible 163 offensive rebounds (37.4 percent).
2010-11: 74 of a possible 188 offensive rebounds (39.4 percent).
2009-10: 75 of a possible 160 offensive rebounds (46.9 percent).
That's strong stuff, and Dakari Johnson even called the offensive rebounding success the biggest positive surprise of the season.
So who's leading the charge? Here are UK's top offensive rebounders, in order of their per-minute rank:
1) Alex Poythress (1.79 per 10 minutes)
2) Willie Cauley-Stein (1.75 per 10 minutes)
3) Julius Randle (1.70 per 10 minutes)
4) Marcus Lee (1.54 per 10 minutes)
5) Dakari Johnson (1.36 per 10 minutes)
Tt this point, they've been better than any UK group under Calipari, even one led by the beastly DeMarcus Cousins.
To put that 50 percent rebounding rate in context, the highest offensive rebounding percentage since 2003 over the course of a full year is 45.3 percent, according to Ken Pomeroy's statistical database.
UK won't sustain that figure over an entire season. They've put up that number against Michigan State and four bad opponents/rebounding teams. Once SEC play comes around, especially, it will dip.
But how far? Of those four teams, the two strongest dipped between 5 and 7 percentage points by the end of the season. The third-strongest team stayed about the same, and the weakest actually improved.
So maybe Kentucky doesn't get half of its offensive rebound chances this year. They'll still likely be a top-10 group, and I wouldn't be surprised if they challenged for that 45 percent mark.