Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

December 15, 2010

Rebound margin is dead? That was fast.

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 11:43 am

One year ago this week I penned a piece under the winningly accommodating let’s-all-be-friends headline “Rebound Margin Must Die.” The inciting incident behind my urgent call to arms was a major-conference head coach crowing on Twitter that his team was ranked in the top 30 or 40 or something nationally in rebound margin.

I had no contact with that coach, I simply retreated to my lair and wrote RMMD. Nevertheless, within 40 minutes of hitting “post” I had a DM in my Twitter inbox from that very same head coach:

Good read regarding rebounding margin. You bring up some interesting points, and agree with several, though not all.

And I knew then that the forces of light and reason had triumphed over darkness and “plus-12 advantage in rebounds.”

To paraphrase Sir Christopher Wren‘s epitaph, reader if you seek rebound margin’s demise look around you. Look at the use of rebound percentages on the major-conferences’ official stat pages in 2010. Look at the national writers not using rebound margin. Best of all type “rebound margin” into Google and see what happens. Just one year after RMMD, I am declaring victory and leaving the field.

Yes, rebound margin continues to pop up here and there. It too is tracked on those official stat pages. Occasionally a national writer on a tight deadline will slip up and make a desperate grab for the familiar old fossil. Heck, the NCAA even gives out a plaque to the team that records the best rebound margin.

So be it. I’m not here to enforce speech codes and prohibitions. I have sought only the effective demise of rebound margin in the eyes of serious people who want to do right by reality. That demise has come, and much sooner than I thought it would.

BONUS diagnostic note! Incredibly the Big Ten is continuing its lonely stand as the only major conference that does not track offensive and defensive rebound percentages on its official stat page. I say “incredibly” because this is manifestly schizophrenic behavior from a league that co-sponsors a blog that fairly sets the standard where analytically sophisticated conference-specific coverage is concerned. 

Then again this is the same league that co-founded a TV network that changed the landscape of collegiate athletics and then reorganized the conference under names that were apparently culled from a National Association of Motivational Speakers thesaurus and which are identical when abbreviated. Schizophrenia is deep in the Big Ten DNA. “She’s my daughter! She’s my sister!” “Big Ten Network! Legends and Leaders!”

Email:; Twitter: @JohnGasaway    

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