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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: vs #22 LSU at the Legends Classic

Let's dig in to see what the Golden Eagles did to get the win over the nationally ranked Tigers.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

If you're not familiar with the Four Factors as featured on, 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 one is the season long average for the Golden Eagles, and the next is where they rank across the country on

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 57.8% (This Season: 49.4%, #164)
LSU: 42.5% (This Season: 51.5%, #229)

HEEEEEEYYYYYYY, lookit that!  Luke Fischer, 7-11!  He doubled his total number of missed shots ON THE SEASON because MU was focusing on getting him the ball!  NEAT.  Henry Ellenson was 4-9 inside the arc and TWO FOR TWO outside it!  Jajuan Johnson was so much THE MAN in this game that Wojo drew up the final play of the game for him!  Even Duane Wilson went 3-8 from behind the arc in this one, or at least he was a very good 3-8 right up until this happened:

Just run that back over and over and watch Wojo react to that over and over.  That's a man who watched that other man do THE EXACT SAME THING in the damn season opener and end up costing them the game in the process.  Duane.  If you're reading this.  The man already yanked you from the starting lineup and took away everyone's practice gear.  I get that you still got 33 minutes of burn in this game, second highest on the team.  DO NOT TRY WOJO'S PATIENCE FURTHER.  Please.

Over on LSU's end of the court, things were awesome as hell.  The Tigers shot 8-27 from long range, and y'all can do that every day against Marquette as far as I'm concerned.  Antonio Blakeney went 0-6 from distance and 5-7 inside.  Thank goodness Johnny Jones never got through to him in this game.  Marquette did their big work on defense in the second half, holding LSU to just 14 made baskets on 41 tries.

I keep looking at this box score.  I see Ben Simmons, 14 attempts.  Brandon Sampson, 12.  Blakeney, 13. Quarterman, 12.  That's four of the five starters.  The fifth is Elbert Robinson III, and he had one attempt, even though he's 7'1".  I can just hear him: "C'mon guys, let me shoot it a little.  Not a lot, just occasionally.  I'm super tall, it'll be real easy."

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 26.7% (This Season: 23.5%, #323)
LSU: 14.7% (This Season: 17.3%, #214)

Ehhhhh.  This is less exciting.  Marquette has not been doing a good job of valuing possession of the basketball on both ends of the court this season, and this was a sub-par effort even relative to what they were doing already.  Henry Ellenson had five turnovers, two on offensive fouls, including the one that fouled him out of the game with just under two minutes left and Marquette up 5.  Coulda used you out there, big man.  Elsewhere: Haanif Cheatham had four turnovers, as did Duane Wilson.  Now, this was a pretty fast game, played with 82 possessions, the most in a regulation Marquette game since that Louisville game in the Big East tournament back in 2012.  You know the one I'm talking about.  You can accept a certain number of turnovers when the game gets a little fast.  20 turnovers in an 80 possession game is much better than 20 in a 60 possession game.  But when you're bad at keeping track of the ball already, you have to do better than this.

Another thing that will help forgive a lot of turnovers is a lot of turnovers forced on defense.  That didn't happen here.  MU's been bad at forcing turnovers this season, and here they were even worse at it.  They were REEEEEALLY bad at it in the second half when LSU had just three turnovers, including none in the final six and a half minutes.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 26.5% (This Season: 31.4%, #147)
LSU: 28.8% (This Season: 28.9%, #138)

I'm going to try and ignore that Marquette's offensive rebounding was kind of crap in this game and focus on how good they were at defensive rebounding.  You'll remember that MU was terrible at defensive rebounding a year ago, so I'll be happy to accept hitting their top 150 season average (almost) on the number.  You will not be surprised to find out that Ben Simmons did the most damage for the Tigers, but you'll also not be surprised to find out that half of his offensive rebounds on the night came on the possession right after Henry Ellenson fouled out of the game.  Simmons had three of LSU's four offensive grabs on that possession, which was also a full 20% of their total for the game.  Let's pretend that LSU didn't get three of those four.  That knocks that down to 24.5%, and that's pretty nice.

Marquette's offensive rebounding was done by committee.  Luke Fischer had three to lead the team, but Sandy Cohen, Henry Ellenson, and Traci Carter, getting his first collegiate start, all had two grabs to extend a possession.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 41.4% (This Season: 40.2%, #156)
LSU: 34.2% (This Season: 21.8%, #11)

Hey, look, if you focus on giving the ball to your offensively minded center, and your power forward with fancy post moves focuses on using them, then your FTR goes up.  Crazy how that works.

You can't be upset that sometimes Marquette allows more free throw attempts than the average.  They've been very, very, very, very good at keeping opponents off the line this season.  But while we can accept a bit of variance, we really can't accept a lot of variance, and we REALLY can't accept all the free throws coming in the second half like they did here.  LSU shot 25 free throws in the game and 19 of them came in the second half.  Eight of those came off the hands of Ben Simmons, but that's what happens when a dude that size grabs 12 rebounds in 20 minutes, I guess.  For what it's worth, 34% for the season would be just barely outside the top 100 right now, so I guess this isn't that bad of a performance.