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The Four Factors: Marquette vs Southern

I'm going to try something new this season, and look back at each game in terms of the Four Factors of basketball.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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. 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, to give us a relative idea of how Marquette performed.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 41.7% (2012-13: 49.6%)
Southern: 42.4% (2012-13: 46.2%)

One of the reasons that Marquette was able to survive as long as they did last year is because of stellar two point shooting (51.6%, 34th in the country), because their three point shooting was atrocious (29.6%, 323rd in the country). 4-13 behind the arc is only a one percentage point improvement over their number from last season, so if the distance shooting is going to stay the same, 9-23 inside the arc is not going to cut it. Of course, they have a 2-13 second half anchor around their necks from this game, so maybe somebody other than Todd Mayo can hit a shot in the second half going forward?

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 19.7% (2012-13: 20.9%)
Southern: 23.7% (2012-13: 19.5%)

Marquette turned the ball over slightly less than they did last year on average and forced Southern to turn the ball over way more than they did on average last year. Can't really argue with anything here, especially with three freshman being forced to learn on the job.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 13.3% (2012-13: 38.3%)
Southern: 27.3% (2012-13: 33.1%)

Four offensive rebounds for the whole game, and all four came in the second half. Two from Steve Taylor, Jr., and two from Jamil Wilson. If Marquette's not going to be a hot long distance shooting team, then they're going to need to grab offensive boards for easy putbacks to make up for the scoring. As for eliminating second chances for the opposition, Marquette was right on the edge between the middle and bottom third in the country last season, so any improvement on that is welcome.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 147.2% (2012-13: 40.9%)
Southern: 27.1% (2012-13: 31.7%)

Hey, how about them new handchecking rules! The offensive number is completely absurd and it's going to be almost impossible to duplicate that, much less keep it over 100% or even 50% going forward. More importantly, though, look at what Marquette did on defense with the new handchecking rules. The Golden Eagles had no problem adjusting to the new rules, and they were already a top 80 team in not allowing free throws last year. 27.1% would have had them at #18 in the country last season, and it's got them at a surprisingly low 44th best this season after just one game.