Boy, I can't believe the AD pulled one over on you, Lar!
Rothstein got that stat from our SID, which has also marketed the stat to the hoops Twitter/Facebook/Instagram feeds earlier this summer. I've quietly let it go unmatched, because it is just a marketing ploy by them. But the stat, while gorgeous in appearance, is not the real story.
How many FGA didn't get logged because our bigs fouled on the attempt last season? Yeah, we were pretty good at stopping opponents' 2PA, but only when we didn't foul, which as you know, was not very often. If Penn State's defensive free throw rate wasn't so atrocious, the stat would have much more juice to it. But there are a significant amount of attempts out there in no man's land that probably should have counted as a make, because the opponent had multiple opportunities to score off of it.
The free throw rate only tells half the story. The other issue is that even though our opponents often missed, all too often we failed to get the rebound (last in the conference) and they got another chance anyway.
You must be getting old
But seriously, I'm surprised we're this far apart on this. I was actually just about to reference just how bad PSU's FTR was in comparison to the rest of the league and was going to use DREB% to do it! So here it goes:
In conference play, the aggregate free throw rate was 37.8. Penn State's defensive free throw rate was 51.5!!!!!!! Pretty damn far from the mean, especially when the majority of defenses fell in the 35.0-45.0 range of this metric. The second worst defensive free throw rate in the conference was Michigan State at 44.2. Penn State's so far out of the ballpark compared to their conference brethren here. Then you consider PSU doesn't force turnovers, which means their opponents probably shot more FGA, which then means it's even more absurd that PSU has a higher FTR. Because just like 2P%, it's easier to have a good percentage if the denominator is smaller. When the denominator is bigger (in case of PSU's FTR), the numerator (# of free throws attempted) must be pretty astronomical to still have a rate that high. We have a pretty serious fouling problem.
EDIT: Catching myself here before Lar calls it out. The suggestion PSU doesn't force turnovers is not meaningful and should be disregarded. Not sure how I could reference just about an hour ago that fouling lowers your FGA and then completely forget it, but I just did. PSU's 940 FGA were the fourth lowest allowed in conference play.
So let's look at defensive rebounding. Penn State finished worst in the league, oh my gosh, but that's not the real story. I've read you, yourself say over and over again on this board that the rule of thumb is keeping your opponents under 33% or 1/3 of the opportunities. Penn State did that at 32.5%! The aggregate in conference play was 29.3%. The difference there between Penn State's performance and the rest of the conference is negligible. Who cares? No one has made it a point of emphasis to offensive rebound in this league last year, and with how weak some of these frontcourts are looking in Bloomington, Champagne, Ann Arbor, and elsewhere in the league, I doubt this is going to dramatically shift next year.
Which is why Ross' defensive rebounding is not that big of a deal. Bench him