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Four Factors: Marquette vs St. John's

Let's pick at this carcass as we get ready for tonight's Big East tournament game against Xavier.

How is it that there are no pictures from Saturday's game?
How is it that there are no pictures from Saturday's game?
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: 47.1% (Season: 48.3%, #222)
St. John's: 56.0% (Season: 49.0%, #140)

I'm not going to quibble about 1.2 percentage points difference between the average and the in-game marker.  I am going to quibble about going under the already lousy season long number, though, but that's also been a long running comment.  The biggest offender here was Todd Mayo's 6-16 effort, although he was only 1-2 from behind the arc. Davante Gardner's 6-13 was both not helpful and not typical for the big man.

On the other side of the ball, it is what it is. This has been a lousy defensive team pretty much the entire second half of the conference schedule.  SJU had a first half eFG% of 64% on the number, and when looking at game long trends, the big killer was D`Angelo Harrison, who shot 7-12 on the day and 3-6 behind the arc, including his "Eff it" game winner.  I don't know how you game plan for Harrison hitting shots like that, but you'd like to think it's possible to game plan to make Harrison's life a little bit harder.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 16.1% (Season: 17.3%, #100)
St. John's: 16.8% (Season: 19.4%, #104)

Marquette gave themselves a break by going slightly under their already pretty solid turnover number.  With that said, Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner both coughed the ball up four times each.  Big picture: it didn't really hurt the team.  Small picture: You can not have your two most reliable offensive players turning into a Jugs machine.  The Golden Eagles also didn't do themselves any favors by allowing St. John's to be sure handed with the ball while also allowing them to shoot the ball so well.  MU was forcing turnovers well early, getting eight from the Johnnies in the first half, but the rate fell from there, and even worse: The Red Storm had zero turnovers in overtime.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 25.6% (Season: 34.2%, #83)
St. John's: 30.0% (Season: 29.8%, #96)

Ok, can't really worry about what St. John's did there, that's exactly what Marquette has allowed all year.  But that's an atrocious output by the Golden Eagles from what is usually a strong point for them.  Derrick Wilson led MU with three grabs on the offensive end. That, to put it one way, SUCKS.  The biggest downfall for MU was the second half, when they grabbed just three of 17 possible offensive rebounds, for a rate of just 17.6%. You can't say what would have happened if they grabbed, say, two more there, but that could have been another 40-60 seconds that St. John's didn't have the ball if nothing else.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 47.1% (Season: 45.1%, #62)
St. John's: 44.8% (Season: 38.5%, #128)

So here's the deal: both of these numbers are boosted by overtime, where Marquette had 11 free throws and St. John's had 14.  This really paid off for the Red Storm as they had an FTR of 127.3% in overtime, which helped them score 1.39 points per possession in the extra 10 minutes.  Given the inflations in overtime, it's hard to draw much of value here.