Oklahoma State is coming off their biggest win of the season against Wichita State on Saturday night. One of the most surprising things that took place was OSU grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. That’s not something Cowboys fans are used to seeing lately; Oklahoma State crashing the boards and grabbing rebounds.
You can understand why I was shocked when I saw this stat from Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World.
After last night, #OKState is the No. 6 offensive rebounding team in the country. Hasn't been top-100 in the stat since 2005-06.— Mark Cooper (@mark_cooperjr) December 18, 2016
According to the NCAA, OSU is tied for 6th in the nation, averaging 15.64 offensive rebounds (ORs) a game. West Virginia leads the nation averaging 16.7 a game. (That December 30th game is going to be crazy!)
What’s interesting is the Cowboys are gobbling up offensive rebounds without a single player registering in the top 100 nationally. Mitchell Solomon (!!!) leads all OSU players averaging 2.4 per game. That’s tied for 186th in the nation. Jeffrey Carroll is second on the team, averaging 2.27 per game.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the biggest reason for the improved offensive rebounding is Head Coach Brad Underwood. If you don’t agree, and I have no idea why you wouldn’t, allow me make my case.
Through 12 games this season, Oklahoma State has 172 offensive rebounds. That’s more than half of what OSU had all of last season; 310. If OSU continues at this pace, it will end the regular season with 484. That would be the highest total in at least 25 years. The closest OSU has come to that number was 481 offensive rebounds in 32 games during the 2001-2002 season.
But back to the players.
Three of OSU’s top five offensive rebounders were already on the team when Underwood arrived. Let’s just look at Solomon and Carroll’s numbers this season compared to the first 11 games of last season. (I’m not including Hammonds, who is tied for fourth on the team this season with 15 ORs, because he missed three of the first 11 games last season).
- Mitchell Solomon | 2016 - 26 | 2015 - 17 |
- Jeffrey Carroll | 2016 - 25 | 2015 - 5 |
5 to 25 !?! That is a serious increase. Plus, we can rag on Solomon all we want (and many times deservedly so) but he’s shown obvious improvement this year.
We probably should have seen this coming. Go look at the offensive rebounding numbers for Underwood’s three years at Stephen F. Austin:
- 2015/16 - 405 | 11.91/gm
- 2014/15 - 413 | 12.15/gm
- 2013/14 - 451 | 12.88/gm
That’s a three year average of 12.32 offensive rebounds a game.
Since the 1990/1991 season, Oklahoma State has only hit 400+ offensive rebounds six times, with three of those coming between 1990 and 1995. Travis Ford never had one.
Not to poke at Travis Ford, but the best OSU ever finished under him was 11.09 a game during the 2010-2011 season. Under Ford, OSU only finished a season averaging double digits offensive rebounds twice (2010-2011, 2012-2013).
Fun side note: no Eddie Sutton coached Oklahoma State team ever averaged less than 11.27 offensive rebounds a game, and they averaged 12 or more a game 10 times.
Underwood brought a history of getting his teams to nab offensive rebounds to Stillwater, and I would say that so far the Cowboys have bought in. It will be an important stat to keep an eye on moving forward.