A little while back, one of our community members (I can't remember who, so accept my apology, whoever you were) observed that it looked to him like the Cougs were focusing more on offensive rebounding this year.
As I was poking around kenpom.com, I noticed he was right -- we've got a 35.5 offensive rebounding percentage (115th nationally), compared to 28.1 (305th) and 26.8 (319th) the last two years.
That's definitely notable, because the Bennett defense places a premium on getting back and shutting down transition opportunities at any cost. Teams that rebound well on the offensive glass usually do so because of their guards, not their big men, and WSU guards are usually on the other side of halfcourt by the time a shot hits the rim. (That's a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture.)
But that's not the stat I found most interesting. It's that right now, our offensive rebounding percentage has a strong correlation to our offensive efficiency -- +.78 to be exact. That's much higher than the statistically insignificant corrlations of +.29 and +.23.
In plain English, this means our offensive efficiency is heavily dependent at the moment on how well we rebound on the offensive end. That is what I find interesting.
What to make of that? I'm not sure.
I haven't seen the team enough to know if there's been a concerted effort by the team to hit the offensive glass -- something I would find surprising. You could potentially chalk it up to competition, since smaller, slower athletes are easier to rebound against -- that's a theory supported by two of our three lowest OR% coming against MSU and Pitt.
The correlations are swayed more easily right now by a handful of performances because of the small sample sizes at this point in the season -- I mean, our three lowest offensive efficiencies also featured our three lowest OR% -- so it could be mere coincidence. But it also could be cause and effect.
If it's the latter, that's disconcerting -- because of the Bennett defensive system, high OR% numbers simply aren't going to be sustainable this year. And if our offensive efficiency numbers have been inflated by offensive rebounding against lesser competition, then our offense might be even worse off than I thought.