Monday, December 24, 2012

Masters of the Glass

There are a couple of things that stand out from Arizona's two impressive victories in the Diamond Head Classic- defense and rebounding.  The Cats started the season looking a bit lost on the defensive end.  Now, they play as a team.  Over their last three games, they have allowed less than 0.8 points per possession.  Against ETSU, that number was 0.72, and the Hurricanes managed a paltry 0.78.  Most games the Cats have played this season have had 65 to 75 possessions.  This translates to giving up just over 50 points.  It's nice to see the defense catching up with the offense.

Our rebounding, however, has been off the charts.  In the humid Pacific air, the Cats are grabbing ridiculous numbers of boards.  Against ETSU, we had 46 rebounds and pulled down 44 against the Hurricanes.  Let me put these numbers into context.  In the Sean Miller era, Arizona has collected more than 40 rebounds on only three occasions.  Two of those have happened this week in Hawaii.  The other?  The triple overtime game against the Cal Bears in February of last year when the Cats had 43.  Of course, in a game with three extra periods, there are a lot more opportunities to get rebounds.

There are three guys who stand out in their ability to grab missed shots, two are who you might expect.  The other just has a nose for the ball, particularly on the offensive side.  The two graphs below show the top rebounders on the offensive and defensive glass for the the Miller era.  I have standardized rebound numbers to minutes played.

On the defensive glass, Brandon Ashley has been by far the best rebounder we have had in the Miller era, averaging more than 0.2 boards per minute played.  Derrick Williams in the 10-11 season is a distant second, and Kaleb Tarczewski ranks a close third.  According to ESPN, the top rebounder in the country is Siena's O.D. Anoske, who has averaged 12.4 boards per game, but he plays 37.7 minutes per contest.  He averages 0.21 defensive rebounds per minute. Ashley is better at 0.22.  Ken Pomeroy ranks Brandon Ashley as the 40th best defensive rebounder in the country.

On the offensive glass, Kaleb Tarczewski is on top, and Kevin Parrom is second.  Both of these guys have been better than Derrick Williams from the 10-11 season.  KenPom ranks Zeus as the 27th best offensive rebounder in the country, and Kevin Parrom currently comes in at No. 105.  Maybe it's not surprising that a guy who is 7' tall is grabbing a lot of boards, but Kevin Parrom at 6'6" is outpacing every other Arizona player from the last three seasons.  As a team, the Cats rank 4th in the nation in overall rebounding percentage trailing only Colorado State, Maryland, and Pitt.

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