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 one is the season long average for the Golden Eagles, and the next is where they rank across the country on KenPom.com.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 44.7% (This Season: 48.5%, #186)
Arizona State: 40.6% (This Season: 49.3%, #173)
This was a bad three point shooting game all around. Marquette went 3-14 (21%) from long distance, while Arizona State was 4-18 (22%). Luckily, Marquette had Henry Ellenson (6-12 inside the arc) and Luke Fischer (6-12) to rely on and boost the numbers. Haanif Cheatham was quietly amazing for Marquette, going 4-4, including making his only three point attempt of the game. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Duane Wilson, who went 4-11 including a terrible 0-4 behind the arc. After shooting 35.5% on threes a year ago, Wilson is sitting at 7-36 on the season, a woeful shooting percentage of 19.4%. I have no idea what's wrong with him, but he's officially on "you get to shoot one, and then we'll decide about the rest of the game" notice.
ASU's role guys were solid for them, but Tra Holder ended up on a one man mission to destroy their eFG% for the game, going 5-15 for the game. Even going 2-5 behind the arc didn't help his game long number, finishing at 40%. Gerry Blakes was even worse, going 3-11 from the field.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 13.8% (This Season: 21.6%, #295)
Arizona State: 16.9% (This Season: 17.2%, #222)
Ok, this is more like it. Admittedly, overtime provides a slight benefit to Marquette's number, as they played an extra five minutes and didn't commit a turnover the entire time. Even without that, MU was sub-20% on TO% in both halves of the game, including a very shiny 11.5% in the second half. While he had a great shooting night, Haanif Cheatham was the worst with the ball, getting dinged for four of Marquette's 11 turnovers in the game. Important thing to point out: Henry Ellenson got whistled for a grand total of zero offensive fouls in the game, which has been a problem for him this season. Key word: WHISTLED.
Defense was barely down from the season average, so that is what it is. I do find it interesting that Marquette is waaaaaaay down from the 21% TO Rate that they had last season that had the Golden Eagles ranked in the top 60 teams in the country. I'm not going to be too worried about it at this point, as MU had solid senior guards last year in Derrick Wilson and Matt Carlino, so you kind of just had to wind them up and put them on the table when it came to playing defense. This year, Wojo's assembling a back court on the fly, so the goal has to be "Be good at stopping the other team from scoring" before it can be "take the ball away from the other team."
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 17.5% (This Season: 28.3%, #206)
Arizona State: 33.3% (This Season: 30.0%, #162)
Luke Fischer had four of Marquette's seven offensive rebounds. Traci Carter and Haanif Cheatham got one each, and ASU knocked a Marquette shot out of bounds once. Ok, look: They won the game, so I'm not going to worry about this. BUT. Marquette's OR% has essentially gone down every single game this season (it blipped up 0.9 percentage points between Iowa & LSU), which is bad, generally speaking. This trend isn't going to continue all season, in fact, I don't really expect it to last one more game. Two things to keep in mind: Marquette was lousy at rebounding overall last season and Wojo has made defensive rebounding a priority this season. You would think that some of that prioritization would bleed into the offensive end of the court on some level.
Speaking of that prioritization, this was MU's second worst job on the defensive glass of the season. I can't be very upset because 1) in general, things are much much much much better than last season when Marquette was the ninth worst defensive OR% team in the country and 2) 33.3% is still better than last season's average. Obinna Oleka was destroying Marquette inside, going for six offensive grabs, and Willie Atwood's four ORebs didn't help anyone's night, either.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 68.4% (This Season: 45.7%, #89)
Arizona State: 33.3% (This Season: 24.1%, #17)
Remember when I mentioned that Marquette kind of benefitted from five extra minutes of overtime in the turnover department? Well, that REALLY helped in FTR, because MU shot 12 freebies in the bonus period. With just four field goal attempts in overtime, that's an FTR of 300%. YUP. The Golden Eagles ended regulation with an FTR of 50.9%, so there's no confusing a ballooned FTR from that overtime period with what was an excellent outing overall. The kind of nutty thing is the depth of contribution. Five Golden Eagles had at least five free throw attempts, led by the 12 from Duane Wilson. The bad shooting night from Mr. Wilson stretched to the free throw line, as he only made half of those attempts.
I could choose to be ornery about the inflated defensive FTR in this game, but Marquette has been unreal in avoiding fouls this season. Even after that boosted up number, they're still top 20 in the country in keeping their opponents off the free throw line, so I'm fine with this number. Did the 51 total fouls called in the game help influence my lightheartedness on this topic? You betcha.