The Four Factors: Marquette vs New Hampshire

I have no idea what's going on here. - Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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. With four games under our belt for the year, it's time to start comparing Marquette's individual game performances against their season long numbers as compiled on KenPom.com.

This is probably not going to be pretty. Brace yourselves.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 35.6% (Season: 41.0%)
New Hampshire: 41.3% (Season: 40.7%)

The good news is that the defense was right about where it's been all year, and that season long mark has Marquette ranked 14th in the country. The bad news is two fold: 1) It's going to be really hard to maintain a sub-45% defensive eFG% for the entire season (46.2% last year, which was 76th in the country), which is really bad because 2) The shooting against New Hampshire was well below the season average and Marquette sure doesn't look like they have a way to shoot their way out of that 41% season long mark.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 17.9% (Season: 18.7%)
New Hampshire: 30.7% (Season: 21.9%)

Here's how you can tell that Marquette was really terrible at shooting the ball against New Hampshire. The Wildcats were kicking the ball all over the gym, and Marquette was already a top 45 team at forcing turnovers. Combine this number and the lousy shooting by UNH, the only reason this game was as close as it was is because MU couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 35.1% (Season: 35.9%)
New Hampshire: 40.6% (Season: 29.9%)

Just about right on line for the season number there, and that's a top 85 team. Can't argue with a less than one percentage point difference. Letting UNH get to more than 40% of their misses, though? That's not going to get it done on most nights, and it almost didn't get it done last Thursday, either.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 65.4% (Season: 62.3%)
New Hampshire: 34.0% (Season: 34.2%)

How is it that Marquette knows how to both draw fouls (20th best offensive FTR) and avoid fouls (71st best defensive FTR), but this isn't turning into an offensive advantage for the Golden Eagles? Or worse, is it creating an advantage, but the shooting is so disastrous that it's wiping out whatever advantage that's being gained?

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