FanPost

Ruminating on rebounding


Anyone out there wondered how Ryan Spangler would have blended into this year's lineup? You remember Spangler, the 6-8, 230-something that led the Zags in rebounds per minutes played as a freshman in the 2011-12 season and pulled down a team-high eight boards in the tournament win over West Va. Ryan bolted for his native Oklahoma after seeing the traffic jam up front with Olynyk, Harris, Landry-Edi, et. al. that would have meant sparse minutes as a sophomore. Now starting for the Sooners, Ryan averages 11 points and nearly 10 boards a game while shooting 63.8 percent from the field. No doubt Coach Few and the assistants did their best to keep this rebounding behemoth in Spokane but now OU has a pillar in the middle for another three seasons. The absence of someone like Spangler was felt in the most recent BYU game where, despite the nice win, the Zags were outrebounded by a physically inferior Cougars' squad that simply plays tougher than the current WCC leaders. Sam Dower scored well again but only had one board in 33 minutes. Meanwhile, Eric Mika, a tough-nosed BYU freshman led all players with nine rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Looks like Mika will become what Spangler could have been for the Zags, an athletic enforcer who goes after the basketball on nearly every play and is a reliable scorer from 12 feet and in. To their credit, Dower and Przemek Karnowski are carrying most of the weight on the glass for this team, averaging over 14 boards between them. Unfortunately the Zags lack an inside catalyst like Casey Calvary, Ronny Turiaf or Corey Violette who have set the tone of intensity for Zags' teams of the past. Can you imagine what Karnowski could do if he had Turiaf's enthusiasm and aggressiveness? He could start making plans for the NBA lottery right now. Let's hope the coaching staff brings back Mike Hart this season as a graduate assistant specializing in interior defense and offensive rebounding. It may be the only hope this team has of advancing beyond the third round of the tournament. Certainly teams like Kentucky with skyscrapers like Randle and Cauley-Stein and Arizona with a towering front line of Gordon, Ashley and Tarczewski that averages 6-10 will overwhelm the Zags on sheer height alone, not to mention inside aggression. They way we are playing inside may lead to wins over Santa Clara and Pacific but not much beyond that. We know this team can't get taller this season but maybe it can get tougher and, with that, surprise a few favorites in March.

This post does not reflect the views of the blog authors or SB Nation.

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