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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: at Georgetown

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The Golden Eagles came up short against the Hoyas on Tuesday. Let's look at how that happened.

Tommy Gilligan-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: 51.0% (Season: 51.8%, #64)
Georgetown: 44.7% (Season: 48.9%, #186)

Hey, all right!  Right about the high quality offensive number on the season, and better than the slightly not great defensive number!  That's a pretty good result.

Both teams shot much better in the first half than the second half, but MU's defense really did a number on Georgetown's offense after intermission.  GU had an eFG% of just 33% in the second half, as they hit absolutely none of their six three-point attempts that could have helped them boost that number up a bit.  Only Jabril Trawick's second half was really lousy, as he missed all three shots he tried.  Trawick and D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera were the only two shooters that had a legitimately bad night, as Trawick finished 2-7 and DSR was 4-10 with a 2-7 mark from long distance.

On offense, Marquette was lousy on three-pointers.  They finished with a nasty mark of 5-17 behind the arc, but a very shiny 18-33 (55%) inside the arc.  Duane Wilson and Matt Carlino had what has turned into their regularly scheduled not great outings, but we need to have a chat about Jajuan Johnson.  After his 0-3 effort against the Hoyas, Johnson is shooting 16-70 behind the three point line in his collegiate career.  That's a 22.9% shooting percentage.  Anything over 35% is a good mark, as that's over 50% on eFG%.  Just this season, Johnson is 7-39, which is just a notch under 18%.  Jajuan Johnson can not be allowed to shoot any more three-pointers ever.  At all.  It has to stop.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 24.3% (Season: 17.8%, #66)
Georgetown: 24.5% (Season: 23.2%, #27)

Ooooooooooooof.  That, kids, is how you win at the most important Factor (eFG%), but still lose a ball game.  Three Golden Eagles - Duane Wilson, Juan Anderson, and Matt Carlino all had at least three give aways, with Anderson's four tying Georgetown's L.J. Peak for the game high.  Had Marquette come away from this game with their season average in TO%, we'd be celebrating the first road Big East win of Steve Wojciechowski's career.

Now, by way of rate, Marquette was better in the second half, but turning it over 20% of the time still isn't a great plan.  I can forgive things like Duane Wilson shuffling his feet as he catches a pass and starts attacking the rim, but MU throwing multiple entry passes to Luke Fischer straight to Hoyas in gray unis?  No good.  These weren't tipped passes that eventually landed in Georgetown's possession, these were passes that Fischer had no chance of even deflecting away from the Hoya that was easily catching them.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 33.3% (Season: 30.2%, #202)
Georgetown: 45.2% (Season: 35.3%, #312)

And if the higher than usual TO% rate by Marquette's offense wasn't really what doomed them, this rebounding effort on defense definitely put the nail in the coffin.  Joshua Smith had seven - SEVEN! - offensive rebounds all by himself.  That's half the offensive grabs that Georgetown had in the entire game, and he didn't just catch a hot streak, as Smith had four in the first half and three after the break, too.  No other Hoya had more than one offensive rebound.

Now, while Marquette's defensive effort was craptastic, respect must be given to what MU did to their own misses.  The Golden Eagles have been a lousy rebounding team all season, so when they're a little bit better than usual, we have to take notice.  Now, most of the OReb in this game for Marquette came via "team" rebounds, meaning it was Georgetown knocking a Marquette shot out of bounds.  But, the remaining grabs came via MU's starters, with four of the five grabbing one each.  Oddly, Derrick Wilson was the lone starter to not snare one.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 24.0% (Season: 40.3%, #107)
Georgetown: 59.6% (Season: 28.9%, #35)

Marquette was their usual solid self at avoiding free throws by the other team in the first half, when they allowed just four freebies from the Hoyas.  But the second half..... hooboy.  Georgetown posted a FTR of 133.3% in the second half thanks to 24 free throws against just 18 field goals.  Now, 10 of those free throws came in the final 45 seconds as Marquette attempted to extend the game.  The problem with that, though, is that a ratio of 14 FTs to 18 FGs in the first 18 minutes of the second half is also super lousy, so all the last minute did was make a bad time even worse.

On the flip side, Marquette attempted just 12 free throws all game long, which is not good.  They didn't get completely three-pointer happy in this game, so you can't chalk it up to Georgetown just being smart about not fouling jump shooters.  As you can see, Marquette's usually very good at getting to the line on a regular basis, but that didn't work out for them here.  Making that struggle even more surprising is GU's national rank in defensive FTR.  KenPom has them as the #255 team in the country at preventing free throws, averaging 41.8% all season so far.  That's worse than the national average, but the Hoyas were very, very good at it on this particular night.