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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: vs Arizona State

Ok, so we know Luke Fischer looked amazing in his first appearance in blue and gold. How did the whole team look according to the fancy math?

Y'know how Al McGuire talked about "aircraft carriers?"  Jajuan Johnson is a hovercraft.
Y'know how Al McGuire talked about "aircraft carriers?" Jajuan Johnson is a hovercraft.
Jeff Hanisch-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: 58.2% (Season: 50.7%, #104)
Arizona State: 45.2% (Season: 52.8%, #285)

This is probably where Luke Fischer had the biggest impact on the game.  Of his 11 field goal attempts in the game, seven were in the paint, and he made six of them.  On top of that, he also assisted on Marquette's lone made three-pointer of the game, and that is not as bad as it sounds.  MU only attempted three in the entire game, likely because of the offensive opportunities that Fischer was giving the team, both in the half court and in transition.  I think it's worth pointing out that Fischer had his lone assist of the game on the made three-pointer, which came from Matt Carlino.

On the other side of the court, Fischer recorded five blocks, and as a team, Marquette had only blocked 14 shots in their first eight games.  That tells the tale of how Fischer affected Arizona State's entire offense, as they would attempt 21 three-pointers in the game, with 13 coming in the second half.  They made eight of those 21, which should have led to a pretty good eFG% for them, but they went 16-41 (39%) inside the arc, which is, y'know, not great.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 17.5% (Season: 17.4%, #54)
Arizona State: 21.2% (Season: 24.8%, #16)

The usual outstanding game from Marquette as far as taking care of the ball, although the total number of turnovers (13) seems a little high.  But, it's about rate, not raw totals.  If Marquette's going to play at this kind of pace (75 possessions, 2nd highest this season), they can obviously absorb 13 turnovers without a problem.

I was slightly surprised to see Marquette lower than average at forcing turnovers in this game when I first did the calculation.  But then I realized something: blocks don't count as a turnover.  They're official shot attempts, so whoever recovers it is credited with a rebound.  It seemed like Marquette was forcing more turnovers than they officially were because of Fischer's blocks landing in his teammate's hands.  I'm okay with that, and besides, 21.2% defensive TO% is still a top 100 ranking, so that's A-OK.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 12% (Season: 28.6%, #300)
Arizona State: 29.3% (Season: 38.5%, #328)

This is a massive problem.  The Golden Eagles had three offensive rebounds in the entire game, with all three coming in the first half.  Luke Fischer had one, Duane Wilson had one, and the third was a "team" rebound, which means it was a Marquette shot that ended up out of bounds because of Arizona State deflecting it.  Part of this may have been by design.  Given that Marquette was shooting well and leading by double digits, as MU was from the 4:46 mark of the first half, I can see Steve Wojciechowski instructing the majority of the five guys on the floor to start getting back on defense  I know it sounds really bad to go without an offensive rebound for an entire half of a game but: MU was 9-16 in the second half, with no shots coming from behind the arc.  They didn't shoot much and when they did, it usually went in.  It's the smart strategic move to give up on trying to get a second chance in that kind of circumstance.

With all of that said, it's still a problem.  18.8% (3 out of 16 chances) for the first half isn't a good number by itself, so there are things to work on that department.  The good news is the defensive OR%.  29.3% is the kind of number that would rank just slightly outside the top 100 in the country, so that's a good number.  It's going to take several efforts of holding an opponent under 30% to get MU's number to a respectable point this season because of how atrocious the first eight games were in the rebounding category, but things appear to be moving in a great direction with Luke Fischer on the floor.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 65.3% (Season: 44.2%, #63)
Arizona State: 32.3% (Season: 29.4%, #55)

As I mentioned, Marquette only attempted 16 field goals in the second half.  How did they score 35 points after the break?  FREE THROWS, BABY!  MU had an FTR of 150% in the second half, as ASU fouled them into 24 free throws, including six in the final minute.  The defensive end of things was a little elevated from the season average, but three percentage points is nothing to worry about, especially with a top 60 ranking.