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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: at DePaul

Oh, this was no fun to watch in person, both because of the final result and because of the facility involved.

Dennis Wierzbicki-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: 41.2% (Season: 52.0%, #59)
DePaul: 44.7% (Season: 49.2%, #186)

Blarg.  The usually reliable Marquette offense disappeared into a hole against the Blue Demons, and both halves were no good.  DePaul threw a lot of zone at the Golden Eagles throughout the game, which led to a lot of choices to just try to shoot over it, which largely went poorly: MU was 3-23 from behind the arc in the game, including a back breaking 1-11 in the second half.  No one had a good day shooting, as nobody hit more than 1 three-pointer, but the worst offender was Matt Carlino, who went 1-10.  Really, this is what BYU fans warned us about.  This game is the opposite and equal reaction to the Georgia Tech game, where Carlino went 8-14 behind the arc while pushing MU to a two point win.

At least the defense was good.  Marquette has struggled with eFG% defense all season, but here things were better much better than average.  While MU was busy having a terrible day on their offensive end, DePaul wasn't doing much better.  They shot just 40% from the field and 26% from long distance, which, on most days, is going to win the other team a lot of ball games.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette:  22.9% (Season: 17.5%, #52)
DePaul: 15.8% (Season: 23.1%, #35)

When your turnover numbers are essentially the exact opposite from where they are usually, that's probably a bad sign.  Things were going the usual direction in the first half for Marquette, where they had five turnovers against seven by the Blue Demons.  But after intermission, MU would boot the ball away on three out of every 10 possessions, while DePaul committed just three errors in the whole 20 minutes.  The biggest source of blunders?  Luke Fischer, who played 17 minutes and committed four turnovers along the way.  It's not entirely surprising, as Fischer has the worst individual turnover rate on the team, accounting for 21.7% of MU's turnovers while he's on the floor.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 39.5% (Season: 29.3%, #230)
DePaul: 32.4% (Season: 34.9%, #293)

Oh, this is a bummer.  As you can see from those national rankings, rebounding has been a major problem for MU all season long.  On New Year's Eve, though, the Golden Eagles reversed those trends.  To clarify: this number isn't assisted by Marquette missing a lot of shots.  It's the percentage of possible rebounds that they got, and (essentially) 40% is a great number for any team.  Juan Anderson did a majority of the work with a game high four offensive grabs, all in the first half, and Steve Taylor, Jr., had three as well.  On the other end, MU did a better than usual job cleaning up after DePaul shot, as no Blue Demon managed more than two offensive rebounds.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 31.6% (Season: 41.4%, #90)
DePaul: 26.3% (Season: 27.0%, #24)

Marquette made a bad thing worse against DePaul when they weren't getting to the line by not being good on the rare chances when they did get there.  Matt Carlino did his best to draw fouls, as he went to the line seven times, but his bad shooting extended to the charity stripe, where he went 4-7.  The low FTR for Marquette can largely be explained by DePaul turning Marquette into a jump shooting team, so that's really more of a symptom than an actual problem.

The other end of the court was cleaner than usual, although even with as few FTs as DePaul shot, Marquette still had foul trouble.  Derrick Wilson and Luke Fischer both finished with four, while Juan Anderson ended up with three.  With Marquette's extremely limited eight man roster seemingly cut to just seven men by head coach Steve Wojciechowski keeping Sandy Cohen on the bench in this game, those kind of foul issues start drastically changing how you can play defense and even how you play offense a little bit.  It's hard to be aggressive when you find yourself saddled with fouls, which is something that Marquette will have to be wary of as the Big East season progresses.