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The Three Things Marquette Basketball Must Improve This Season

It's not like this is secret stuff. We're just pulling it straight from KenPom.

Shoutout to Duane for getting the logo facing the right way on the ball in this picture.
Shoutout to Duane for getting the logo facing the right way on the ball in this picture.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

1) They have to get more defensive rebounds.

Marquette had the 13th worst defensive rebounding rate in the country last year.  Thirteenth.  Worst.

The Golden Eagles allowed their opponents to rebound 36.4% of their misses a year ago.  This is very bad.  An average team would have allowed their opponent to get to only 31.1% of their misses.  Here's where it gets worse: Via KenPom, the best defensive rebounder on the team in terms of rebounding rate was Steve Taylor, and he's currently busy wearing street clothes for Toledo this season.  So, not only does Marquette need to figure out a way to get way better in this category, they're also going to have to do it on the fly with no one existing on the roster to rely on to keep opponents from getting second chances.

The good news is that Henry Ellenson plays for Marquette and Luke Fischer's shoulder is 100% after offseason surgery.  In case you were wondering, MU allowed Valley City State to grab 30.4% of their misses on Monday night.

2) They have to get more offensive rebounds.

Hey, if you saw that one coming, then you get a high five.

Offensive rebounding was not as big of an issue for Marquette a year ago as grabbing those misses on the other end was.  Marquette grabbed 29% of their own misses in 2014-15, which ranked them #247 in the country.  That's sub-par, and only looks okay relative to how Marquette did on their opponent's misses.

The Golden Eagles have the same problem on the offensive glass that they did on the defensive glass: The best guys are now gone.  Yet again, Steve Taylor had the best offensive rebounding rate on the team, and second best went to Juan Anderson, who has since graduated.  This is the kind of thing that happens when you only return four scholarship players: You're going to have to find new category leaders all over the place.

It is worth noting that MU only grabbed 28.6% of their own missed shots in their exhibition game.  In their defense, the OReb rate was 33% in the first half and only 20 in the second half as they never led by fewer than 20 in the final 17 minutes.  A lack of offensive rebounding can be explained when it really doesn't matter if your shot goes in or not.

3) They have to get to the free throw line more.

Of the two sides of each of the Four Factors, Marquette was sub-200 in three, and Offensive Free Throw Rate is the third and final one.  Now, finishing #205 with 38.5% as many free throws attempted as field goals attempted is honestly not the end of the world.  With 351 teams in Division 1, the median in the country is only a hop, skip, and a jump away at #175, so it's really not terrible.  On top of that, Free Throw Rate has the smallest amount of impact on whether or not a team wins a game.  You can balance out a lousy FTR by being better in other parts of the game as evidenced by Wisconsin going to the national championship game but ranking #191 in Offensive FTR.

Getting free cracks at points from the charity stripe is never a bad thing, though, and the more the better.  You would like to think that with a more up tempo style along with two talented big men, it should be easier for Marquette to establish a time share at the free throw line this season.