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. Normally, the first one would be Marquette's season long average, but until we get a few games into the season, we'll be using the final stats from last year as recorded on KenPom.com. The second is MU's ranking in that category and again, that'll be the 2014-15 final ranking, not this year's current numbers.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 47.2% (Last Season: 49.8%, #129)
IUPUI: 46.2% (Last Season: 49.2%, #173)
For the second straight game, Marquette's offensive output was a bit down from where they were a year ago. It's not that much down, and if you were to figure out margin of error, this is probably well within that. I figured something out though: we're already seeing Henry Ellenson's impact on how the team's performing here, even with the slight decline. MU has been really lousy on three-pointers this season, including going 3-17 in this game. Your biggest boom in eFG% is going to come from draining triples due to the bonus effect of the extra point. The Golden Eagles have been aggressively bad at long range shots, but there hasn't been that much of a slide in eFG% because Ellenson is 1) scoring close in on his own and 2) creating a little bit more space for Luke Fischer to do the same.
It's not surprising to see the defensive number go down from the season opener, given how deadly Belmont was from long range. I don't know if you noticed or not, but while Marquette was obviously bad from three point range, IUPUI was arguably worse, given that they had more misses on threes (23) than MU had attempts (17). Mason Archie and Darell Combs were the two biggest MU assistants in that regard, going a combined 4-14 from distance.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 26.1% (Last Season: 19.3%, #189)
IUPUI: 22.7% (Last Season: 21.0%, #59)
At just over 19% a year ago, Marquette could be described as "fine" at protecting the ball. This, though, was terrible. Admittedly, the entire problem was essentially limited to the first half, where the Golden Eagles committed a turnover on more than a third of their possessions. MU was way better for the final 25 minutes of the game, only coughing it up seven more times for a total of 20 in the contest. The biggest difference? Duane Wilson and Traci Carter. They had five and three miscues respectively before halftime, and then none after that.
My seats in the Bradley Center don't provide me a look at the coaches' faces. I presume, though, that IUPUI head coach Jason Gardner spent most of the game glaring at Darell Combs. We already mentioned his shooting woes on the night, and that was made even worse by his 10 turnovers. Seven of them came after halftime, and he had two in the five minutes of overtime. Thumbs up to the Marquette defense for assembling an effort that was even better than their already great job last season.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 34.4% (Last Season: 29.0%, #247)
IUPUI: 35.1% (Last Season: 36.4%, #339)
Ok, maybe it's not 100% great, as the number that IUPUI posted was still kind of bad for Marquette. BUT IT'S BETTER THAN LAST YEAR'S ABSOLUTE MESS ON THE DEFENSIVE GLASS SO WOOOOOOOOOOOO!
All credit for what Marquette did on the offensive glass here goes to Luke Fischer, who had six of MU's 11 rebounds on that end. He actually ended up with more offensive grabs than defensive, as he reeled in only four of IUPUI's misses. PSSSST: Luke Fischer is averaging a double-double because he recorded his first two career double-doubles in MU's first two games this season. Yeah. I know, right?
No one in particular stands out as doing damage for IUPUI, but four Jaguars did grab at least two offensive rebounds. That's a pretty good team effort, so in the future, MU has to do a better job putting a body on every single guy on the court when shots go up.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 53.7% (Last Season: 35.8%, #205)
IUPUI: 15.2% (Last Season: 30.3%, #38)
Now there's two really impressive numbers. As could be expected, Marquette's success at getting to the free throw line is largely due to their two big men. Henry Ellenson got 12 tries at the charity stripe, and Luke Fischer added six more. Maybe the only strange part about that is that all of Fischer's six attempts came in the first half. The surprising help on the MU end of things came from Haanif Cheatham, who matched Fischer's six attempts, and in a nice moment of counterbalance, got all six attempts in the second half.
Wojo continues to do an excellent job with his men when it comes to the new emphasis on offensive freedom of movement. MU was whistled for 17 total fouls in this 45 minute contest, and those 17 infractions only generated 10 free throws for the Jaguars, with no player getting to the line more than three times. We're not going to start comparing MU's numbers to the current season until after the Jackson State game, but I think it's really important to point out that through two games, Marquette's defensive FTR this season is 20.5%, a significant improvement on an already excellent number from a year ago. Even with referees calling any and every hand check as a foul, Wojo's got that angle of the game completely figured out.