The Four Factors: Marquette vs Grambling

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, but was it an efficient 43 point win?

If you're not familiar with the Four Factors as featured on KenPom.com, the concept is very simple: There are four main parts of a basketball game that contribute to a team's success. They are:

  • effective field goal percentage, or FG% with a bonus for made three pointers
  • turnover rate, or the % of possessions that end in a turnover
  • offensive rebound rate, or the % of possible offensive rebounds that the team grabbed
  • and free throw rate, or the ratio of free throws attempted to field goals attempted expressed as a percentage

We'll look at the numbers for Marquette and their opponent in both categories for each game. The opponent number doubles as Marquette's defensive numbers, since it's what they're allowing. As the season gets a little deeper, we'll start comparing the numbers to the season average, but until we get a few games under our belts, we'll just compare things to last season's final numbers, as recorded on KenPom.com, to give us a relative idea of how Marquette performed.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 57.9% (2012-13: 49.6%)
Grambling: 35% (2012-13: 46.2%)

When Marquette can run down the floor on multiple possessions, have Derrick Wilson or John Dawson veer a little to the left side of the lane, zip a pass straight to either Chris Otule or Davante Gardner in the lane, and have them turn and throw it in the bucket with an almost machine like precision, the shooting numbers are going to be really good. Turning it around on defense, considering the bonuses for made three pointers, any time you keep the opponent under 45%, you're doing pretty good, and under 40% is really good.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 8.5% (2012-13: 20.9%)
Grambling: 17.6% (2012-13: 19.5%)

Excellent ball control by the good guys. You can't really blame anyone for not turning Grambling over more because there was no real reason to pressure the Tigers once Marquette went up 20 points, and this game's number is close enough to last year's average, anyway. It is worth noting that MU was barely a top 200 team with that 19.5% last year according to KenPom.com, and forcing fewer turnovers is going the wrong way.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 48.8% (2012-13: 38.3%)
Grambling: 35.2% (2012-13: 33.1%)

Marquette grabbed nearly half of their misses. You're going to be hard to beat when that happens. Grambling's number is in the neighborhood of last year's average, so that seems okay, but it's important to remember that Marquette was bad at allowing offensive rebounds last year. They finished the season ranked #231 in the country according to KenPom.com, which had them right on the line between the middle and bottom third in the country.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 37.8% (2012-13: 40.9%)
Grambling: 44.3% (2012-13: 31.7%)

Alas, gone are the days when Marquette shot nearly 1.5 free throws for every field goal they shot. Normally, with the new handchecking rules, I'd say that having a lower free throw rate than last year would be bad, but Grambling only committed four fouls once Marquette went up by 30 points for good with just over seven minutes to play, so that tends to drag the numbers down. Grambling having a FTR 13 points higher than last year's average is probably troubling, even with the new handchecking rules. Luckily, free throw rate is the factor that has the least amount of definitive impact on the outcome of a game.

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