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Four Factors: At Ohio State

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Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

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: 54.0% (2013-14: 48.7%, #210)
Ohio State: 73.5% (2013-14: 49.1%, #141)

I'll sign up for 54% on offense every day of the week after going through two of the worst three-point shooting seasons in recent memory.  The actual three point shooting in this game was right on the edge of no longer efficient (8-23, 34.8%), but when balanced out with penetrating Ohio State's zone for easy buckets for Steve Taylor, that's fine.  Of note, Sandy Cohen went 2-4 behind the arc and Matt Carlino hit on three of his seven tries behind the arc, which is more than completely acceptable.

The defense, though.... whooo.  It's the worst performance by Marquette's defense since the Creighton game at the Bradley Center last season.  It's not exciting to give up two 70%+ performances within 10 games of each other, even if they are broken up by the off-season.  The problem wasn't even actually Ohio State's three point shooting, although they did make more than half (8-15) of their tries.  No, the problem was in the second half when the Buckeyes went 1-3 behind the arc and 18-24 everywhere else.  32 second half points in the paint, and they only scored 41 total in the second session.  In case you aren't experiencing horrifying flashbacks of all of those layups, remember this: Ohio State had zero second chance points in the second half, so none of those 32 points came on put backs.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 23.8% (2013-14: 17.5%, #115)
Ohio State: 26.5% (2013-14: 19.3%, #100)

The excellent defensive job done on the Buckeyes was completely washed out by Marquette kicking it around Value City Arena themselves.  Yes, the 18 OSU turnovers kept Marquette in the game, but when you end the game only +2 in turnovers, you can't be that enthused.

At halftime, I mentioned that both teams were struggling in this regard and the team that got it under control would have the advantage after intermission.  That was Ohio State, as they only had five turnovers after the break, while Marquette matched their first half total with eight.  Specific glares are aimed at Juan Anderson (four) and Jajuan Johnson (three), but thumbs up are reserved for Matt Carlino, who had zero turnovers for the second straight game.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 16.7% (2013-14: 34.1%, #79)
Ohio State: 5.3% (2013-14: 29.6%, #94)

If you don't mind winning ugly, then you're super excited about this battle.  There were a *total* of six offensive rebounds grabbed in this game, and the Golden Eagles grabbed five of them.  Yes, that's right.  Ohio State had ONE offensive rebound for the whole game.  I can actually hear Buckeyes' head coach Thad Matta in a film session right now: "Guys, look, we won, so I'm not going to beat this into the ground, but you CAN NOT do this ever again this season."

Juan Anderson and Steve Taylor both had two offensive glass grabs in this game, while Ohio State's lone marker came with 3:12 left in the first half.  Trey McDonald reeled in a D`Angelo Russell three-pointer miss and converted the Buckeyes' only second chance points of the game.  It's actually kind of a significant basket, as Marquette had just responded to a 15-4 Ohio State run with five quick points to cut the lead to seven.  Maybe the D-Reb there jumpstarts MU and they push things a little closer at half?  Who knows, right?

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 26.0% (2013-14: 44.8%, #62)
Ohio State: 8.2% (2013-14: 38.7%, #144)

For most of this game, it seemed like the referees could have left their whistles in the locker room.  I never got the feeling that they were letting things go, nor did I feel that either team was getting the benefit of a loosely called game.  The two teams shot just 17 free throws in the entire game, 15 of which came after the halfway point.  Marquette had the benefit of 13 of the freebie attempts, but 1) that was not a lot relative to what they accomplished on a regular basis last year or relative to the national average and 2) they didn't really take advantage of their chances, hitting 9-13.  You can't point fingers at any particular player, as everyone who shot from the charity stripe hit at least one and, at most, only missed one.