Four Factors: Marquette vs Xavier

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Get ready to be not excited about Marquette's defense.

If you're not familiar with the Four Factors as featured on, 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

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 54.8% (Season: 48.5%, #225)
Xavier: 59.4% (Season: 47.4%, #93)

Ok, deep breath *inhale* *exhale* Marquette's shooting is great. Hands down, won them the game, etc., etc., clap hands, squeal for joy. But Jake Thomas and Jamil Wilson are BARELY useful three point shooters at 38.3% and 34.2%, which gives them both an eFG% just over 50%, and that's AFTER they combined to shoot 8-13 against Xavier. If they're going to be as hot as they were against Xavier, sure, they can shoot all they like. But trusting them to do that again and again is a very risky proposition. Meanwhile, MU's eFG% defense is not going well. Five of MU's last six opponents have had an eFG% over 45% and four of them have been over 50%. That's a really bad trend, and it's almost hard to explain how Marquette is 3-2 in those games. For this game, Xavier was just really, really good inside the arc, as they only shot 5-12 behind it.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 8.5% (Season: 17.6%, #115)
Xavier: 31.2% (Season: 20.0%, #73)

DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN. I don't have time to dig through every box score ever (and really, who does?), but I wonder how many games have that big of a disparity in TO%. Or even if anyone's ever had a sub-10%/30+% game before. That's crazy. Derrick Wilson did a majority of the damage for Marquette, coming up with a career best six steals. Semaj Christon was the biggest drain on the Musketeers effort, coughing it up five times, while Matt Stainbrook and Justin Martin lost it four times each.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 40.7% (Season: 35.2%, #59)
Xavier: 64.0% (Season: 30.7%, #138)

Ok, good news first: Five different Golden Eagles grabbed at least one offensive rebound, including three each from Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule. That turned into one of Marquette's better efforts on the offensive glass this season, and that's saying something for a top 60 ranked team. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Marquette was terrible on the defensive glass, and they're not even that great there to start with. Jalen Reynolds (five) and Justin Martin (four) almost combined to have as many offensive rebounds as Marquette did as a team. The combination of this and how well Xavier shot the ball means that Marquette actually NEEDED all of those turnovers to be able to win the game. That is not going to work on a regular basis going forward.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 51.9% (Season: 42.7%, #119)
Xavier: 43.8% (Season: 36.0%, #82)

Again, another case of Marquette doing much better than their offensive average, but letting things slide on the defensive end. It almost bit them in the ass, as Semaj Christon had a pair of free throws with 52 seconds remaining that would have made the lead just four points, but he missed both. I really can't understand why Myles Davis ended up shooting free throws with 14 seconds left. Hey! You're up 10 with scant seconds left! Just let Davis get the offensive rebound and the putback!

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