Four Factors: Marquette at Xavier

Joe Robbins

UGH.

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. Along side each of the individual game numbers, you'll see two numbers after that labelled "Season." The first number is Marquette's either offensive or defensive totals for the year, the second is Marquette's national rankings in those statistics. Both season long numbers are provided by KenPom.com.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 55.6% (Season: 49.6%, #162)
Xavier: 58.7% (Season: 45.9%, #62)

In a development that I definitely did not see coming, Marquette shot more than twice as many three pointers as Xavier. Somehow, and I'm not really sure how, Marquette shot 41% on those 27 attempts, and that turned into one of the best offensive performances of the year by the Golden Eagles. Unfortunately, as has been the case lately, Marquette forgot that they used to be a good defensive team when it comes to eFG%, and allowed Xavier to shoot the cover off the ball. The most notable offender was Semaj Christon, who had to be the top item on Marquette's scouting report. The sophomore guard shot 8-10, including 3-3 behind the arc. Also of note: Justin Martin's 5-9 effort and James Farr going 4-4.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 8.8% (Season: 18.1%, #146)
Xavier: 18.1% (Season: 20.1%, #84)

Clap hands, squeal for joy: Marquette kept track of the ball incredibly well, even with Derrick Wilson glued to the bench for 18 minutes. Three of the turnovers were committed by Jamil Wilson (1 in 12 minutes) and Juan Anderson (2 in eight minutes), so when you consider the experience level of the players who were on the floor for the majority of the game, that's really an outstanding effort.

So, great shooting and great ball control, even if the shooting was kind of wiped out by Xavier's performance. Everything seems pretty good so far.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 17.6% (Season: 35.9%, #61)
Xavier: 44.0% (Season: 30.3%, #120)

And there's where the car goes into the wall. Marquette got to their own misses at about half the rate that they usually do (and that's a really good rate usually), and Marquette allowed Xavier to get to 50% more misses than they usually allow their opponents. Christon, Myles Davis, and Jalen Reynolds were the only Musketeers that played 10 or more minutes that didn't get at least one offensive rebound, while only four Golden Eagles got any offensive rebounds, inexplicably led by three from Derrick Wilson.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 21.0% (Season: 42.6%, #133)
Xavier: 89.1% (Season: 34.8%, #74)

FTR is the least important of the Four Factors, which is why it's down here at the bottom of the page. But while FTR has the least amount of impact on the game of the Four Factors, you still can't post numbers like these and expect to win ball games. Marquette's fascination with the three point attempt is a significant factor in their diminished Free Throw Rate. A disciplined team is not going to foul jump shooters, and when you take 27 long distance jump shots, you're not going to draw fouls very well. Meanwhile, Marquette is usually one of the best teams in the country at not fouling, but all of a sudden they're playing basketball like they just took hits of ecstasy and got really touchy feely. Xavier took FORTY-ONE free throws in the game, and I can't even pin this one on the game being refereed by James Breeding, Jim Burr, and Pat Driscoll, three of the most notorious officials in the country. I refuse to believe that the refs are out to get any one particular team, so this comes down to a very simple concept of basketball: STOP TOUCHING DUDES.

Even if you wipe out the 10 free throws that the Musketeers took in the final minute when Marquette was fouling to try to extend the game, it's still a FTR of 67.4% for the other 39 minutes of the game, which is absolutely horrible.

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