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: 48.6% (This Season: 54.1%, #54)
San Jose State: 40.3% (This Season: 44.3%, #45)
This is a regression to the mean. Marquette was not going to keep posting eFGs over 57% like they had in five of the previous six games, regardless of the quality of the opponent. Generally speaking, this shouldn't worry you too much. What should bother you, though, is the fact that Marquette took 28 three-pointers in the game, which accounted for over 40% of their shot attempts in the game. They're averaging about 35%, which is roughly middle of the road across the country, but 40% would be a top 75 value. MU can not be a team that shoots that many three pointers, both because of the presence of Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer on the roster and because they're only hitting 34% of their long ball attempts.
I do have to say that 10 of those 28 attempts came from Sandy Cohen, who had made five of his first six attempts before we hit the 12 minute mark of the first half. I could make an argument that Sandy should have shot the ball more than he did as he had a looooooong stretch where Marquette didn't get the ball to him while he was on his hot streak.
Back to Henry Ellenson for a minute: Dude. Stop with the threes. 26% ain't cutting it, not with that skill set. I get that you were 4-8 against Maine and Grambling. You've compiled four games this season where you didn't hit any of your three point attempts for a 0-12 in those games. It's cool, you don't have to keep trying. We get it.
Luckily for this regression, it mostly didn't hurt Marquette. Yes, the lead dipped as low as just six points early in the second half after MU had a 24 point lead after 10 minutes. Yes, SJSU cut it to just seven points with less than 8 minutes to play. But Marquette prevailed, largely because San Jose State just didn't hit enough shots. While Marquette took too many three pointers, they shot them fairly well as a team at 39% SJSU shot 22 triples and made just 18% of them.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 12.8% (This Season: 19.8%, #232)
San Jose State: 24.3% (This Season: 19.5%, #121)
Big thumbs up all over the place here. Numbers this strong on both sides of the ball can determine who wins a basketball game. Marquette did a hell of a job keeping track of the ball, and did better in the second half than they did in the first half. Heck, other than Traci Carter who had four turnovers, no one else even had more than one.
Three Marquette players had multiple steals to force that high TO% by SJSU. Princeton Onwas was the victim of Marquette's defense in this one, coughing the ball up EIGHT times in the game, including SEVEN in the second half. Yikes. Those seven TOs accounted for more than half of SJSU's turnovers in that end of the game, and that's how you end up turning the ball over on more than a third of your possessions.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 37.8% (This Season: 29.1%, #209)
San Jose State: 31.8% (This Season: 29.9%, #159)
Well, this kind of makes up for the shooting issue. I should point out that this number is elevated a bit. right around the nine minute mark of the first half, Marquette had a sequence where they grabbed five offensive rebounds in less than 20 seconds. They ended up with 11 in the first half and an OR% of 42.3% for the opening stanza. Kind of blows what happened - Marquette missed five straight shots to get those rebounds - out of perspective, y'know? On one side: YAY REBOUNDING. On the other: HOLY CRAP PUT THE BALL IN THE NET.
The Golden Eagles did have a solid number in the second half, grabbing 31.6% of their misses. Luke Fischer finished with seven offensive rebounds, and Henry Ellenson had four of his own, which is nice.
The other end... man... I have to keep saying that defensive rebounding is supposed to be something that Wojo is stressing this year, and I don't like doing it. Yes, they're way better than they were last year, so maybe this is the result of the stressing. Maybe they're just not going to get better than this. You'd like to think that Marquette could be a top 100 defensive rebounding team, given how adept Fischer and Ellenson are at it.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 29.0 (This Season: 39.1%, #128)
San Jose State: 27.4% (This Season: 23.2%, #9)
Take 40% of your shots from long range, and all of a sudden, your FTR is in the crapper. This should not surprise you. I don't know if you guys have noticed, but Wisconsin only has seven guys who have appeared in every game this season. If Marquette wants to win in the Kohl Center on Saturday, they're going to need to get that FTR jacked way up to force Badgers to the bench with foul trouble.
Unless that season long defensive FTR dips past being a top 25 number, I mostly don't care what happens down there because it's so great generally speaking.