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: 49.2% (Season: 51.4%, #82)
Seton Hall: 61.2% (Season: 49.6%, #211)
BARF. The offensive side isn't so bad. You're not going to be as good as Marquette usually is at shooting the ball all the time, so that's fine. The defensive number is horrifyingly awful, though. It's spurred by Seton Hall posting an eFG% of 76% in the second half. HOLY CRAP, THAT'S A DISASTER.
How did that happen? Well, here's the first seven possessions of the second half for the Pirates: Khadeen Carrington 3, Sterling Gibbs jumper, Brandon Mobley 3, Angel Delgado 2nd chance bucket, Gibbs 3, Mobley dunk, Mobley dunk. 4 minutes, 14 seconds, eight shots, seven makes, an eFG% of 106%and a lead explosion from 4 to 19. Game over. I only stopped there because SHU finally had an empty possession on their next time down the court, but they would score on the next two possessions after that, too. For the whole game, Carrington and Gibbs combined to shoot 16-27 overall and 9-16 behind the arc. That's a recipe for losing, regardless of who you are.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 13.2% (Season: 18.8%, #126)
Seton Hall: 22.0% (Season: 22.4%, #33)
Hey, this is pretty great! Yes, Matt Carlino had three turnovers. Yes, Derrick Wilson had 2, as did Luke Fischer. But from the full team perspective, Marquette was better than their season long average at keeping track of the basketball, and MUCH MUCH better than their mark in just Big East games. Even after this outing, MU is still the owner of the worst TO% in the Big East when only looking at conference games.
On the flip side, Marquette is great at forcing turnovers, and they lived up to that part of their game against the Pirates. Three different SHU players had three turnovers, including the hot shooting Khadeen Carrington. Sterling Gibbs had two of his own as well. The kind of crazy thing about what Marquette did as far as forcing turnovers goes is that Seton Hall turned the ball over more than 25% of the time in the second half. It was a situation where if Seton Hall didn't turn it over, the shot they got off during the possession went in. That's really not a way to be able to survive a game on defense.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 30.8% (Season: 29.8%, #217)
Seton Hall: 35.5% (Season: 35.1%, #317)
Pretty much exactly what Marquette has done all season long on average. Marquette did what they could on the offensive end with four different Golden Eagles getting at least two grabs. Angel Delgado was the big winner for the Pirates, grabbing four of SHU's 11 offensive rebounds by himself. I don't really have much to say about this because this is just how MU has been playing this season, and they have to find ways to win through the other three Factors.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 16.7% (Season: 37.5%, #171)
Seton Hall: 22.4% (Season: 28.8%, #28)
For example, having this few free throws is no way to try to win a basketball game. MU's right about middle of the pack in the country as far as getting to the line, but given their other deficiencies, they really can't afford to assemble an FTR that's less than half their normal rate. Only four Golden Eagles even got to the line in the game, and only Derrick Wilson shot more than two.
Marquette's defensive effort was outstanding in this game, though. Yes, it was really buoyed by allowing just four free throws in the first half, but it's still a great game-long accomplishment. The Golden Eagles are already one of the best teams in the country at avoiding fouls, and any time that they can go below that stellar mark is reason to be pleased.