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Four Factors: Marquette vs Ball State

It was an easy victory for the Golden Eagles by the end of the game, but how did they get to that point? Let's take a look to see what the numbers have to say!

AWESOME! A photo taken right before Chris Otule registered an AMAZING block!
AWESOME! A photo taken right before Chris Otule registered an AMAZING block!
Mike McGinnis

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: 56.6% (Season: 49.2%, #174)
Ball State: 47.0% (Season: 44.0%, #26)

It's not quite the 70% explosion that the IUPUI game was, but I'm going to take any game where Marquette shoots over 50% as a victory towards improving the team's performance. The Golden Eagles were buoyed by excellent and early three point shooting last time out, but that wasn't the case here. MU only shot 3-9 behind the arc here, and while I'll take 33% for this team, it's a good sign that Marquette didn't rely on the three point shot, or fall in love with it in either half.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 13.8% (Season: 17.6%, #130)
Ball State: 31.5% (Season: 19.4%, #115)

You're not going to see a defensive performance like this very often, so let's just revel in it. Of note is Juan Anderson's six steals, with five of them coming in the first half. With 11 steals in the last two games, Juan Anderson is now ending 5.5% of defensive possessions with a steal. That has him ranked #8 in the country amongst players seeing at least 40% of their teams minutes according to Deonte Burton is actually ending possessions with steals slightly more often than Anderson, but Burton has only played in 34% of Marquette's minutes.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 37.5% (Season: 38.9%, #27)
Ball State: 25.6% (Season: 28.9%, #72)

When you're as good as Marquette is at offensive rebounding, you can't be disappointed about a slight downtick from the average from time to time. When you realize that Marquette allowed Ball State to get to fewer of their own misses than MU usually allows their opponent, then you really can't be bummed out about how the Golden Eagles handled their own misses. Strong shooting defense, lots of take aways, not allowing the Cardinals to get to their misses... there's a lot of strong tendencies for Marquette here.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 45.9% (Season: 43.3%, #124)
Ball State: 42.0% (Season: 35.3%, #88)

It's nice to see Marquette draw a foul or two more than usual and get to the line more often than they have on average this season. Granted, they let Ball State get to the line at a much higher rate than usual, so it wasn't all great. Both teams shot a heavy majority of their free throws in the second half: 4 against 17 for Ball State and 7 against 21 for Marquette. Is this a byproduct of play? I find it hard to believe that teams suddenly started fouling more as Marquette blew open a halftime lead to as high as 41 before the end of the game, especially when Jim Burr was shuffling around on the court.