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. For now, we don't have any season long averages to compare to, so for the first few games, we'll compare Marquette's efforts to last season's outputs. Both season long numbers are provided by KenPom.com.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 57.1% (2013-14: 48.7%, #210)
Tennessee-Martin: 50.0% (2013-14: 49.1%, #141)
First, the offense. What. The. Hell. Five different Golden Eagles hit two three pointers, sending MU to a mark of 10/23 behind the arc. This is a thing that happened just six times all of last season, and it just happened five times in one game. In fairness, two of the guys hitting them - Matt Carlino and Sandy Cohen - are new to the roster, and Cohen hit both of his in what amounted to garbage time in this game.
The defensive end is a problem, when you take the full game into account. The main problem was the second half, when UT-Martin hit on 11 of their 20 attempts. Part of the problem was that the Golden Eagles started suffering from foul trouble because they were made even more shorthanded by Derrick Wilson's minor injury not making it worth him playing in a double digit game. That why this isn't that troubling: Marquette pushed the lead to 10 points on their first shot of the second half, and it only returned to as low as 10 points once before Marquette slowly pulled away. When you're up 15 and have four fouls, you don't play defense very hard, y'know?
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 10.6% (2013-14: 17.5%, #115)
Tennessee-Martin: 28.2% (2013-14: 19.3%, #100)
That's a very, very good number on both sides of the ball, but neither number is particularly sustainable long term. Only Matt Carlino had more than one turnover, and he's welcome to have two turnovers any time he also has seven assists.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 26.7% (2013-14: 34.1%, #79)
Tennessee-Martin: 41.4% (2013-14: 29.6%, #94)
This is the entire worry about the first eight games of the season summed up into one game. Marquette got owned on both sides of the glass, and given the relative height of the team until Luke Fischer is eligible, this is probably going to continue to be a problem.
Marquette did do a better job keeping UT-Martin off the offensive glass in the second half, but that means they went from 44% in the first half to 36% in the second half. That's still not good. Of particular worry: Myles Taylor is the Skyhawks' leading returning rebounder, and he grabbed 11 caroms, five on the offensive side. If you can't focus on shutting down the guy you know is good, then there's problems.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 41.1% (2013-14: 44.8%, #62)
Tennessee-Martin: 54.2% (2013-14: 38.7%, #144)
The offensive number is fine, the defensive number is really bad. Both numbers were sent in the wrong direction in the second half, but Marquette still easily pulled away from the Skyhawks in that frame. If you look at what the Golden Eagles did in the first half, the offensive end was great (50%), but the defensive side was still lousy at 43%. As mentioned repeatedly here, Marquette spent that second half in foul trouble, so that explains how things got out of control. I'm sure that both Wojo and the players are well aware that that kind of foul problems can't occur over and over again this season.