Five games into this relatively new UK basketball season and we have discovered one pleasurable thing about the current Cats. They love to go to the glass.
In fact, this may be most ravenous offensive rebounding Kentucky basketball team since John Calipari docked in Lexington. A team blessed with size and eye-popping length, the Cats have claimed at least 45 percent of their offensive rebound opportunities in each of its five games so far this season.
As a singular stat, offensive rebounds can be misleading. The numbers mean much more when placed in context. To find a team’s offensive rebounding percentage, divide its offensive rebounds by its offensive rebounds plus the opponent’s defensive rebounds.
For example, in Tuesday night’s 105-76 win over Texas-Arlington at Rupp, Kentucky was credited with 20 offensive boards. Texas-Arlington grabbed 19 defensive rebounds. So UK was successful on 20 of 39 offensive rebounding opportunities for a 51.3 percentage. Any number over 40 percent is considered good.
Kentucky’s offensive rebound percentages thus far this year: 47.4 vs. UNC-Asheville; 53.3 vs. Northern Kentucky; 45 percent vs. Michigan State; 53.1 vs. Robert Morris and 51.3 vs. UTA.
To give this context, Calipari’s first team, the one that reached the Elite Eight before forgetting how to shoot in a loss to West Virginia, reached the 45 percent mark in offensive rebounds in 13 games.
His 2010-11 team, which reached the Final Four, reached 45 percent just four times all season. The 2011-12 team which placed that eighth championship banner in Rupp Arena, claimed at least 45 percent of the offensive rebounds in 10 games.
Last year’s team, the NIT disappointment, did it just three times all season — Lipscomb on Dec. 15, LSU on Jan. 26 and at Florida on Feb. 12. So in this category at least, the 2012-13 Cats are way ahead of the 2011-12 Cats.
Here’s a look at UK’s rebounding percentage in last year’s 35 games and the first five of this season: