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Barry Jacobs On KenPom, Duke & Rebounding

We don't consult kenpom.com, the highly-regarded site that shares the statistical analysis and views of Ken Pomeroy. Not having a subscription, we'll rely on a DBR report that quotes the Virginia Tech grad, a professional meteorologist and an associate instructor of atmospheric sciences - specializing in severe and unusual weather -- at the University of Utah.

According to our friend Julian King, Pomeroy called the Blue Devils "a particularly poor rebounding team" based on their break-even rebounding a quarter of the way through the 2012-13 season. Pomeroy apparently identified Duke's rebounding as a potentially fatal flaw.

King demurred, arguing Duke's other systemic priorities significantly diminish the importance of board prowess.

The historical record certainly supports the view that a pronounced edge in rebounding is not a prerequisite of success for Mike Krzyzewski's teams.

Only one of Krzyzewski's four national championship squads (2010) outrebounded opponents by more than three per game. The '10 group was among four of his teams that paced the league in rebounding during Coach K's first 32 seasons, along with 1986, 1988, and 1989.

Just six of K's 32 units outrebounded opponents by more than three per game. That's 19 percent, or less than once every five seasons.

Through last weekend's Temple game, the current Blue Devils show no sign of building a large margin on the boards. They average 35.6 rebounds, one fewer than opponents. Even so, their record is 9-0.

Of Krzyzewski's dozen 30-win teams, only three enjoyed a three-plus edge on the boards.

A single 30-victory Duke squad (2006) was outrebounded overall. Six Krzyzewski teams were rebounded so far, two during his first two years installing his approach in 1981 and 1982.

His worst recent team, the 2007 Blue Devils, outrebounded opponents by an impressive 4.9 per game. But those Devils weren't much on field goal percentage defense, foul shooting accuracy, steal margin, or ratio of assists to turnovers.

BOARDING PASS
Per-Game Rebounding Edges By Krzyzewski Teams
(2012-13 Through Nine Games)
Reb. Margin No. Year (Margin)
7 or more 1 1999 (8.8)
6 or more 1 2010 (6.2)
5 or more 3 1989 (5.4), 1988 (5.2), 1986 (5.9)
4 or more 1 2007 (4.9)
3 or more None
2 or more 7 2012 (2.6), 2011 (2.7), 2009 (2.7), 2004 (2.3), 1998 (2.9), 1992 (2.7), 1991 (2.3)
1 or more 9 2005 (1.6), 2003 (1.3), 2002 (1.1), 2001 (1.1), 1995 (1.9), 1990 (1.5), 1987 (1.9), 1984 (1.1), 1983 (1.2)
More than 0 5 2008 (0.1), 2000 (0.9), 1994 (0.9), 1993 (0.1), 1985 (0.7)
Up to -1 1 2013 (-1.0), 1996 (-0.7)
Up to -2 1 1981 (-1.2)
Up to -3 3 2006 (-2.7), 1997 (-2.8), 1982 (-2.9)