Through the first five games of the season, this year’s Kentucky Wildcats are doing something magical. It is widely known that Julius Randle is rebounding at a crazy rate, pulling down 13.4 per game. This is more than any player in Calipari’s time here at Kentucky. However, the thing that goes under the radar is the team rebounding rate and margin. As a team, these young Wildcats are pulling down 49.2 rebounds a game. Compare this to the 30.6 rebounds a game that their opponents are pulling down, and Kentucky is out rebounding their opponents by 18.6 rebounds a game. This includes a rebounding margin of at least 12 in favor of the Wildcats in each of their first five games.
Historically speaking, this is a significant number. The last time Kentucky out rebounded five straight opponents by at least 12 rebounds in each game was the 2001-2001 season. That year, Kentucky out rebounded six consecutive teams by 12 or more a game: Morehead State (48-30), Kent State (43-26), VMI (50-28), North Carolina (45-33), Kentucky State (51-29), and Duke (51-34). If Kentucky can keep the pace of a double digit rebounding margin, it will be the first time since 1961-1962. Just for fun, the Kentucky record is 21.5 a game back in 1954-1955. For more comparison sake, two teams have had a double digit rebounding margin each of the last three seasons: Colorado State (11.9) and Quinnipiac (10.4) in 2012-2013, North Carolina (10.5) and Quinnipiac (10.2) in 2011-2012 and Old Dominion (11.7) and Pittsburgh (10.8) in 2010-2011.
Look for the ‘Cats to keep up their pace with their unbelievable size advantage. There should be no team this season that can compete with their size, giving them the sheer advantage in that department. Combine this with their constant improvement that will inevitably happen over the course of the season and their rebounding dominance will continue with no problem. The only question becomes…by how much will the margin end at?