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The Four Factors: Marquette vs Ohio State

There has to be some kind of bright spot, right?

Dude. Not cool.
Dude. Not cool.
Jeffrey Phelps

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. The plan was to start using this season's numbers starting with this game, as it was the third on the schedule, allowing for a triangulation of sorts on MU's average on the season. But since it was literally a statistical anomaly at least on the offensive side of the ball, we'll keep comparing things to last year's averages according to KenPom.com for now.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 19.8% (2012-13: 49.6%)
Ohio State: 45.2% (2012-13: 46.2%)

Hey, look at that, a bright spot right off the bat! I mean, the black hole that is Marquette's offensive number is threatening to envelop the bright spot, but having the defensive eFG% within a point of last year's is perfectly fine. Even better: MU was 76th in the country at defensive eFG% last year, so that's a great number against a great team like Ohio State.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 30.8% (2012-13: 20.9%)
Ohio State: 17.2% (2012-13: 19.5%)

Ok, no bright spots here at all. Ending three out of 10 possessions with the rough equivalent of throwing the ball into the sun is terrible, no matter how you look at it. Making it even worse is that they weren't forcing turnovers well. If Ohio State was kicking the ball around the gym, then you could forgive a little bit of a bad turnover rate, because the possessions are coming back your way, too. That didn't happen here, and 19.5% was a lousy number last year, too.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 39.1% (2012-13: 38.3%)
Ohio State: 15.8% (2012-13: 33.1%)

Ok, now here's two really good numbers. Remember, this is the rate at which you grab offensive rebounds. 1 miss, 1 OR = 100%, 9 misses, 9 OR = 100%. MU was right where they were last year on OR%, and they were #15 in the country according to KenPom.com. Only allowing Ohio State to 15.8% is bordering on amazing. That number as an average would rank Marquette #3 in the country. Is it sustainable? Probably not, but doing it against a high quality opponent proves that Marquette has improved on something that was a weakness a year ago.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 39.6% (2012-13: 40.9%)
Ohio State: 28.8% (2012-13: 31.7%)

Right in the neighborhood of last year's free throw rate, so that's another good sign. You can argue that it should be a little higher because of the new handchecking rules, but that's also dependent on Ohio State being careless in regards to the rules, too. A defensive FTR lower than last year's average is great, and with the handchecking rules, it's continued proof that regardless of what Buzz may or may not say to reporters, he's definitely coaching the team to play in accordance with the rules.