Looking across the NCAA,
it is hard to pinpoint a “Best Team.” Sure, the top 10 on Joe Lunardi’s “S” curve all can be viable options…but still, nobody sticks out.
However, I think all rational college basketball fans can agree on one thing: no matter how Flashy and Skilled your guards and slashers may be, the real teams thrive with solid Big Fellas.
Let’s take a look at the top-10 currently and the Big Fellas down low who make the team click.
1. Florida (Patric Young, Dorian Finney-Smith) 6.3, 6.9 Rebounds/G
2. Wichita State (Chadrack Lufile, Darius Carter) 25th Overall in Rebounds/G
3. Arizona (Aaron Gordon, Kaleb Tarczewski) 20th Overall in Rebounds/G
4. Duke (Jabari Parker, Amile Jefferson) 15.6 Rebounds/G Combined
5. Virginia (Akil Mitchell) 7.0 Rebounds/G
6. Villanova (Daniel Ochefu, Jayvaughn Pinkston, James Bell) All Avg. 6+ Rebounds/G
7. Syracuse**Outlier 178th Overall in Rebounds/G (could be part of the slide)
8. Kansas (Joel Embiid, Perry Ellis, Andrew Wiggins) 20+ Rebounds/G 4+ BPG Combined
9. Wisconsin**Outlier 272nd Overall in Rebounds/G
10. San Diego State (Josh Davis) 10.0 Rebounds/G 27th Overall in Rebounds/G
What do these statistics tell us? Granted, nothing may jump off the page, but 8/10 top 10 teams all have major rebounding forces, or team rebounding, that is accounting for some of their wins.
And, for the teams that don’t, i.e. Syracuse and Wisconsin, I think the frontcourt is where their weakness lies. Let’s examine this a little more….
L #1. Boston College by 3 OT -3 Rebounds,
L #2. Duke by 6 +3 Rebounds, -2 Blocks (Keita had 8 ORB this game)
L #3. Virginia by 19 -10 Rebounds
L #1. Indiana by 3 -5 Rebounds
L #2 Michigan by 7 -1 Rebounds -5 Blocks
L #3 Minnesota by 13 –10 Rebounds
L #4 Northwestern by 9 -6 Rebounds
L #5 Ohio State by 1 +3 Rebounds -1 Blocks (Ben Brust, a G, had 7 RB this game)
Do you see any correlation here? I certainly do. Especially in the bigger losses. Granted, more than just big men and size go into rebounding. You have to have tenacity, you have to WANT the ball. However, you can see from the top teams….the Big Fellas can alter the game. They get rebounds, they block shots, they CONTEST!
Finally, let’s get back to our bread-and-butter. The Big East.
Statistically speaking, even with every team having played different amounts of games, it didn’t shock me to see some of these teams near the top of this list. For certain, I knew Butler and DePaul wouldn’t be up on top, even though DePaul is in the middle of the pack as of now (and has been playing teams tightly, as of late).
Looking strictly at Defensive Rebounds, we can really see the difference. Top teams are up ahead, with Marquette and Providence possibly sliding past Seton Hall once their total number of games even out.
Finally, narrowing this down a bit further, look at what happened last night when Xavier was defeated by Seton Hall.
No surprises here. And, why did this happen? 10 minutes into the game, Xavier big fella Matt Stainbrook went down in major pain on a non-contact play. First of all, we hope he is okay. With that being said, his non-presence allowed Seton Hall to grab some additional rebounds and win. Xavier’s -4 rebound differential is typical for the losing team.
Call me crazy, call me ignorant, call me whatever you want. I’m a man of statistics, but I’m also a man of the eye test. And, if you look at the top teams in the Big East and the nation, the best ones can all rebound as a team, and have big fellas down low to alter shots and change the outcome of the game.
One thing is for certain, if you want to win, you need to have your big fellas get down and dirty.
Send us your comments below or tweet us @BEandBeyond!