Four Factors: Marquette vs Seton Hall

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We're going to have to find a way to separate the first half and the second half here.

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: 50% (Season: 49.6%, #162)
Seton Hall: 49.1% (Season: 46.1%, #69)

Ok, first things first: If you wipe out the ultimately pointless buzzer beating three by Sterling Gibbs with no time left on the clock, Seton Hall's eFG% drops to 47.4%. That's well within a slight shift on the season average for Marquette. Heck, even the full game number isn't that bad relative to the season long number. Considering that the Pirates hit seven of their 14 three ball attempts in the second half, Marquette should probably be glad that the defensive number isn't worse. As for the offensive side, that's three straight games at or over 50% for Marquette. Obviously, relative to the rest of the country, it's not an impressive mark. But it is a sign that the offense is trending upwards. Yes, two of the teams involved are DePaul and Seton Hall, but those two teams don't have the two worst eFG% defense in the league.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 18% (Season: 18.1%, #145)
Seton Hall: 12.2% (Season: 19.6%, #98)

Right on the season number for protecting the ball, so not much to say there, other than Marquette needs to find a way to eliminate a turnover or two per game in order to allow a chance to score more often. On defense, though, no bueno. MU is pretty good at taking the ball away overall, and yes, Seton Hall protects it better than Marquette does (#117 in the country), but this was good even for them. When making their 16 point recovery in the second half, Seton Hall ended a possession by coughing up the ball just 9% of the time. Just as MU needs to eliminate errors on their end, they need to be forcing turnovers as well to improve their overall efficiency.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 22.2% (Season: 35.2%, #75)
Seton Hall: 19.4% (Season: 29.6%, #102)

This is two straight games where offensive rebounding has been a massive problem for the Golden Eagles. Marquette is not a good shooting team, and odds are they're not going to suddenly turn into a good shooting team by the end of the season. They absolutely HAVE to get offensive rebounds to give themselves a second chance at taking a good shot to be able to score. The worst offender for Marquette in this game was Davante Gardner, who finished the game with a goose egg in the OR column.

OR% may not have turned into an actual problem against Seton Hall, as Marquette snuffed out Seton Hall's second chance opportunities with ruthless efficiency. Unfortunately, most of this was done in the first half, as Seton Hall only grabbed 1 offensive rebound for an OR% of 6.3%. The second half (30%) wasn't bad compared to MU's season long number, but when you compare the effort put forth in the first half to limit the Pirates to one chance, it was a terrible second half effort. Seton Hall got their second chances after intermission through a team effort, as only Brandon Mobley grabbed more than one offensive rebound.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 46.9% (Season: 42.8%, #128)
Seton Hall: 24.1% (Season: 34.1%, #62)

Hey, look, good news! Slightly better than average on the offensive end, much better than average on the defensive end, where Marquette was already pretty great. FTR was the one good thing that Marquette did on the defensive end in the second half, holding SHU down to just 8.6%. You can make arguments that it's really easy to not foul jump shooters when you're leaving them mostly open in the first place due to Buzz Williams' defensive rotations, but Marquette's not foul prone in the first place and they gave Seton Hall very few opportunities to help themselves. Even on the three occasions when Seton Hall had a chance to creep back into the game, they mostly failed: Gibbs made his only free throw, and Patrick Auda missed both of his tries.

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