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Controlling your opponents' missed shots and recovering your own misses cement to form a foundation block of the game.
To claim you had a good basketball team that did not rebound would be as hard to accept as saying you had built a beautiful building but set one of the corners on top of jack stands and cinder blocks because you ran short of materials.
UCLA has not protected or attacked the windows at either end of the floor well enough. There are important rebounding techniques that have to be worked on in practice, but it is a skill largely built on instinct, effort and attitude.
Rebounding also has been a core performance stat line on all of Ben Howland's best teams. That it has gone away so precipitously and at such crucial moments in games has added fuel to the encampment fires burning outside the perimeter of the programs' walls.
This Bruins' team allows an average of 37.9 total rebounds a game, which places them 296th nationally. They surrender 11.1 offensive rebounds to their opponents, which places them 303rd.
In the last three games they have allowed the opponent to bring down nearly 37 percent of their missed shots. The worst team in the country by percentage, Western Kentucky, allows 40 percent.
In the loss to Arizona State, the Bruins allowed 53 rebounds: 13 offensive and 40 defensive. The team grabbed only 33 of its own, eight offensive and 25 defensive and lost by 18 points.
The Bruins gave up 44 rebounds to USC, 12 offensive and 32 defensive. The team took only 36 of its own, 12 offensive and 24 defensive. The Bruins lost by four points in overtime.
The team has looked soft inside if not overpowered, and the one potential physical inside player, Tony Parker, has not been able to get a handle on himself when he has been on the floor.
The poor rebounding also breaks down the defense, which has forced many first and second shot misses, but then is forced to buckle down for another shot clock sequence after surrendering a rebound. This cumulative effect segues directly into the next slide.