Being from where I’m from, I know quite a few Minnesota Golden Gopher fans. After they beat Morgan State on Tuesday, by an impressive 30 point margin, some of my friends were nonetheless worried.
Why? Because the Gophers only outrebounded Morgan State by 4. And Morgan State had more offensive boards (19 to 14). How could a Big Ten team get almost outrebounded by a smaller MEAC team? Rest easy, Gophers fans.
Rebounding margin means absolutely nothing. Less than nothing in fact. It is basketball’s answer to RBIs in baseball. Let’s take a closer look at the boxscore:
The Gophers put up 51 shots last night, while Morgan State put up 71 total shots. That explains the offensive rebounding margin in its entirety. The Bears missed 40 shots, ten more than the Gophers. A lot of times turnovers can help explain the story, but they had the same turnover percentage. However, consider a hypothetical situation: Had a team turned it over somewhere closer to 35% of the time, there would have been a lot less of their shots to rebound (because of the empty possessions), which would impact rebounding numbers further.
The Gophers actually dominated on the offensive glass, rebounding 48% of their misses. Morgan State, meanwhile, rebounded 38% of their misses.
So to all you Gopher fans out there (and to Michigan State fans who constantly brag about rebounding margin) the stat means nothing. Because of the discrepancy in shot totals and turnovers, the numbers can often appear differently than they are.