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Four Factors: Marquette vs Butler

The fifth factor? Todd Mayo.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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: 54.5% (Season: 48.2%, #230)
Butler: 48.0% (Season: 46.4%, #68)

That's an outstanding shooting night by your Golden Eagles, and most of the strength of it lies in the second half. Which shooting effort do you like the most: Chris Otule made his only shot, Davante Gardner was 2-2, Jamil Wilson went 3-4 in his foul plagued seven minutes, Deonte Burton was 4-6 if you pretend his badly aimed three pointer never happened, and Todd Mayo was a ferocious 7-10 from the field. Heck, the only one who had a bad second half was Jake Thomas, and even his one make in his five attempts tied the game at 53 all. The defensive effort wasn't that far from the otherwise outstanding season average, so there's not much to worry about there. It is worth noting that Khyle Marshall and Elijah Brown did shoot a combined 9-18, but Kellen Dunham did struggle at 5-14.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 14.9% (Season: 17.9%, #131)
Butler: 27.8% (Season: 19.3%, #113)

And that's how you win a ball game: making a bunch of shots and keeping the ball for yourself. Marquette made their big comeback in the second half, but Butler was equally lousy at protecting the ball in both halves. They posted that 27.8% rate in both the first and second halves, even though they had about eight extra possessions after intermission. The impressive thing about this is that Marquette had two traveling calls against them in the first three possessions of the game, then spread their remaining eight turnovers over the following 38 minutes.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 18.2% (Season: 34.7%, #79)
Butler: 22.2% (Season: 30.2%, #121)

That is not good. Well, okay, it's both not good and very good. It's borderline distressing that Marquette was unable to have their usual outstanding day on the offensive glass against a much smaller Butler front line. Kellen Dunham somehow did the most damage to the Golden Eagles' effort in the first half, grabbing four defensive rebounds. MU was much better off in the second half, grabbing 24% of their misses, but that still wasn't up to their usual output. Kameron Woods was the bad guy after intermission, cutting MU off from four possible offensive rebounds. Chris Otule was the most notable rebounder for the Golden Eagles, as he was the only one who grabbed more than one missed shot, totalling two in his 17 minutes.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 30.9% (Season: 41.3%, #152)
Butler: 38.8% (Season: 35.9%, #87)

Butler went crazy-o's in the second half, shooting 16 of their 19 free throws in the game, thus pushing their rate past Marquette's average allowed FTR for the season. Luckily, Free Throw Rate is the least important of the Four Factors, so even though Marquette got too touchy-feely after intermission, Butler didn't gain any kind of advantage from all the extra chances at points. Given how Marquette got most of their points during their comeback (Mayo driving to the rim, Otule putback, two buckets from Gardner, a Jamil 8 foot turnaround), I'm surprised that they didn't draw more fouls from the Bulldogs. Yet again, further proof that if you do really well in the other categories, you can afford a bad night allowing or shooting free throws.