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Four Factors: Marquette at St. John's

Nate Shron

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: 37.1% (Season: 48.0%, #246)
St. John's: 53.6% (Season: 46.3%, #66)

BLARG. This one was effectively decided in the first half, when St. John's shot 4-9 behind the arc largely on the back of D`Angelo Harrison hitting half of his six three point attempts. I understand Buzz Williams' philosophy of "three pointers are a harder shot to hit than anything in the paint." I really do. I understand the math logic behind taking a chance on allowing low percentage shots to avoid allowing high percentage shots. But when the most prolific three point shooter in St. John's history is on the floor, maybe alter the ol' coaching scheme? Just a little?

As for Marquette's end of things, I don't know what it was about the 1-6 effort from long range in the first half that led to a 13 point deficit at the break that made someone say "hey, let's shoot eight triples in the second half!" but that's what happened. I mean, technically 25% (2-8) is better than 17% (1-6), but it's not like that's a good percentage, y'know?

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 23.2% (Season: 18.1%, #144)
St. John's: 19.0% (Season: 18.9%, #143)

Upside: the defense did what it always does. Downsides: 143rd in the country isn't a good number and 2) you can't kick the ball all over the gym while shooting terribly. I'd like to try to sell you on "well, John Dawson, Deonte Burton, and Jajuan Johnson played a big pile of minutes, so this was just them shaking some freshman mistakes out," but those three combined for just three of Marquette's turnovers, which is one more than Derrick Wilson had by himself and one less than Todd Mayo's total... that all came in the first half.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 42.9% (Season: 35.4%, #60)
St. John's: 31.3% (Season: 30.5%, #129)

FINALLY, some good news. A reminder: this is about rate, or the percentage of available misses that Marquette grabbed. If you shoot 11-12 and grab 1 offensive rebound, that's 100%. If you shoot 1-12 and grab 11 offensive rebounds, that's 100%. Marquette being better than normal at offensive rebounding here has nothing to do with a large quantity of misses available to grab. The big winners from this performance are Deonte Burton and Juan Anderson, both of whom grabbed four caroms on the offensive end and both men only played 17 minutes. That's making good use of your time.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 25.8% (Season: 41.8%, #139)
St. John's: 35.7% (Season: 35.8%, #82)

As always, Marquette did an excellent job avoiding fouling the Red Storm. But partially because Marquette wasn't getting the ball inside (seven shots by Davante Gardner inside the arc) and partially because St. John's ran out to a healthy lead and had no interest in fouling to give MU a chance at free points, the Golden Eagles weren't drawing fouls. Oddly, St. John's was better at avoiding fouls in the first half (just seven) than they were in the second half (ten).