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Four Factors: Big East Tournament Edition

In the flurry of activity around the Big East tournament, this got forgotten. Then the NCAA tournament started, then Buzz left, and this got lost in the shuffle. BUT NO LONGER!

Jim O'Connor-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: 63.3% (Season: 48.7%, #210)
Xavier: 52.0% (Season: 49.1%, #141)

The defensive number is reasonably close to Marquette's season long mark on, so other than pointing out that Justin Martin shot 5-10 from the field and 3-6 behind the arc, I'll just leave that alone.  Instead, what the hell is going on with Marquette's shooting in this game?  Oh, right: The two most explosive offensive players, Todd Mayo and Deonte Burton, went haywire.  That pair combined to shoot 17-27 from the field, with Mayo making three of his six attempted three pointers and Burton keeping everything inside the arc.  Jamil Wilson made three of five and Davante Gardner made four of six, and everyone else just stayed the hell out of the way.  What a weird game.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 24.7% (Season: 17.5%, #115)
Xavier: 16.1% (Season: 19.3%, #100)

NOPE, GOT WEIRDER.  Seriously, Marquette lost this game because they were epically bad at keeping track of the basketball.  If you've paid attention to our recaps of women's basketball, you've seen our rants about how bad that team has been at coughing the ball up.  While Marquette "only" had 15 turnovers in this game, this was only a 61 possession game, so that was a horrifying rate.  The downside of letting Mayo and Burton go on the shooting aspect was that they each turned the ball over three times, and Jamil Wilson contributed three as well.  Meanwhile, Semaj Christon turned it over FIVE times, and SOMEHOW, Marquette was WORSE than normal at forcing turnovers on the defensive end.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 28.6% (Season: 34.1%, #79)
Xavier: 25.8% (Season: 29.6%, #94)

Marquette did two things pretty well this season: Grab offensive rebounds and get to the free throw line.  As you'll see in a minute, the Golden Eagles stunk at both in the season ending loss.  The depressing thing is that MU grabbed 40% of their misses in the first half, but only 18.2% in the second half, leading to a terrible overall number.  The team leader in offensive rebounds? TEAM OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS.  Not a joke!  Marquette got just as many offensive rebounds by Xavier batting MU's missed shots out of bounds (three) as ACTUALLY GRABBING A MISSED SHOT (three).  Meanwhile Jalen Reynolds had three offensive grabs all by himself for the Musketeers.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 31.1% (Season: 44.8%, #62)
Xavier: 46.9% (Season: 38.7%, #144)

How in the name of all that is holy did Marquette finish so far under their season average for FTR with Mayo and Burton taking the heavy majority of the shots?  Heck, throw Gardner in there, and 30 of Marquette's 45 shots came inside the arc from those three guys, all of whom excel at shooting the ball from 10 feet and in.  And Xavier didn't accidentally commit fouls?  Sheesh.  Xavier shot 12 of their 23 free throws in the final 91 seconds, so that number is slightly skewed.  The Musketeers didn't have a field goal attempt in that stretch, so the FTR of 22.4% for the first 38:29 of the game is pretty great.  Unfortunately, when you're losing late, you have to foul to extend the game, and you end up with a game long statistic that makes you look bad because you lost.