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Four Factors: vs NJIT

The second half polished things up a bit to the point where it almost got respectable for a moment. Almost.

It's November of 2014 and Juan Anderson is carrying Marquette.
It's November of 2014 and Juan Anderson is carrying Marquette.
Benny Sieu-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.  The first is Marquette's season long average in that category, and the second is their national ranking on KenPom.com.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 38.2% (Season: 50.2%, #115)
NJIT: 41.2% (Season: 57.1%, #318)

The good news of keeping an opponent well under 50% is balanced by the bad news of Marquette shooting under 40% for the game. The Golden Eagles were craptastic in both halves, so at least it was consistent instead of being a sudden power outage.  The biggest offenders were Derrick Wilson and Matt Carlino, who combined to go 0-10 in the game.  On the upside, that duo only shot (and missed) two three-pointers in the game, so at least they were trying to get closer to the rim when they were missing.

NJIT's Damon Lynn was determined to win the VOLUME SHOOTER ALERT award for this game, as he jacked up 20 shots.  14 of those came in the second half, and he made just one, a three pointer with 4:25 remaining in the game.  You can make a very solid argument that Lynn is personally responsible for the Highlanders going from an eFG% of 69.4% in the first half to just 25.8% in the second half, as he shot more than twice as many times as any of his teammates.  That, of course, raises the question of how Marquette would have fared on defense after the break had Lynn brought his conscience out of the locker room.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 19.3% (Season: 16.8%, #67)
NJIT: 28.3% (Season: 26.6%, #21)

Generally speaking, Marquette's been pretty good at keeping track of the ball this season.  While this outing was a little bit worse than average, it's still going to be pretty good relative to the rest of the country, so I have to give it a thumbs up.  Think about this, though: Juan Anderson finished with five turnovers, nearly half of MU's total.  Where could this have gone if he had coughed it up fewer times, but also how would this have gone if he had been less aggressive (20 points, nine rebounds, two steals)?

While MU was a little worse at keeping track of the ball here, they were a little bit better than normal at taking it away from NJIT, and Marquette was already one of the best teams in the country in that regard.  In addition to his 4-20 shooting night, Damon Lynn also had five turnovers to help the Golden Eagles' cause.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 45.9% (Season: 30.9%, #179)
NJIT: 47.2% (Season: 38.7%, #302)

As was the case with eFG%, high fives for what Marquette did on their end, thumbs down for what they did on NJIT's end.

With 351 Division 1 teams, being ranked #175 is exactly right in the middle of the country, so anything above that point this season is going to be a plus.  Marquette took care of business in the second half against NJIT, grabbing 10 of a possible 16 offensive rebounds.  Steve Taylor got four of his six offensive grabs in the second half, while Juan Anderson got his hustle on after intermission to get three of his six caroms off his team's misses.

NJIT did a great job all game long grabbing their missing, but they did even better in the second half.  Odera Nweke got four of his five offensive rebounds in the second half, while Damon Lynn got four more.  That noise you hear is NJIT head coach Jim Engles saying "Yeah, he'd BETTER go get some misses if he's missing his shot 13 times."

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 66.7% (Season: 40.8%, #138)
NJIT: 37.3% (Season: 38.7%, #194)

Marquette may have won this game at the free throw line.  The Golden Eagles had a second half FTR of 105% as they shot 23 free throws against just 22 field goals.  It was Juan Anderson (7-10) and Duane Wilson (a perfect 7-7) putting in the heavy lifting.  Of course, the ones that Marquette fans will remember is the missed pair from Derrick Wilson with 29 seconds left and the Golden Eagles leading by four.  While a slightly dire time for a misstep like that, it stands as a pretty solid proof that games are not won or lost on just one play, or even two free throws.  Had Marquette not made the Highlanders look like the Harlem Globetrotters in the first half, Derrick's missed freebies wouldn't have been that big of a deal.