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: 45.9% (This Season: 53.2%, #57)
Presbyterian: 39.5% (This Season: 44.6%, #29)
Eeeep! How exactly did Marquette have a nine point lead at halftime of this game when they were just barely outshooting Presby, 38% to 36%? Man. The good news is that the cold streak didn't go all game long for Marquette. They bounced back with an eFG% of just over 56% after halftime, and not because they caught fire from outside, either. MU was 3-11 on triples in the first half and just 4-11 after the break. Now, 4-11 (36%) is well within the limits of acceptable shooting, but it was Marquette's efforts inside the arc that won them the game in the second half. MU was 12 for 21 on twos, and every single player that put up a field goal scored and shot at least 33%.
On defense, Marquette was exquisite, and they were already pretty good this season. Even after halftime, when PC shot 43%, it was still better than MU has defended on average this season. DeSean Murray certainly wasn't doing the Blue Hose any favors with his 8-21 outing, and Jaron Withers was just out there holding everyone down at 0-7. Reggie Dillard was 5-11, but he went 3-5 from long range, so he was doing his best to try to drag Presbyterian to a good place.
It should be noted that Presbyterian is one of the worst three point shooting teams in the country. They're hitting just 25.5% of their long balls, which ranks them #348 in the country after the game against Marquette. It might feel like they went a little haywire in the second half, but that's because they hit their first four three point attempts of the half. Those four buckets came in the first seven minutes after halftime, and Presby would go just 1-11 from long range after that. They ended up shooting 31% on threes for the game, and while that's much better than they normally shoot it, it's still below the 33% efficiency threshold.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 16.9% (This Season: 19.6%, #239)
Presbyterian: 19.4% (This Season: 19.7%, #107)
Better than average on turnovers! HOORAY! Look, MU's pretty bad at keeping track of the ball this season. But these things are all relative. Sure, they're ranked #239 right now in that department. But the national average is 18.7, less than a percentage point lower than MU's number. The top 100 starts at 17.4%. If Marquette can just pile up a few games of below 17%, their TO% for the season will get respectable very quickly.
While they struggle to keep track of the ball relative to the rest of the country, MU is trending towards becoming an elite defensive squad as far as turnovers go. This game would have been over a lot sooner if Marquette had held up their defensive pressure, though. Presbyterian turned the ball over on over 32% of their possessions in the first half, but just 5% of the time in the second half. Combine PC maintaining possession along with their hot shooting start, and you can see how this was still an eight point game with eight minutes left to play. None of the Blue Hose were particular victims of the defense, but of the PC players that saw more than a minute of game play, only one escaped without turning the ball over.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 44.4% (This Season: 32.0%, #125)
Presbyterian: 34.0% (This Season: 30.5%, #177)
I was all set to offer a disclaimer on this one and point out that Marquette racked up eight offensive rebounds in the first five minutes of the game. However, MU posted identical 44.4% marks in both the first and second halves of the game, so no disclaimer necessary. In some way, it almost seems mean to be excited about how MU did on the offensive glass. Presby is the 9th shortest team in the country by way of average height, so it makes total sense that Luke Fischer (8) and Henry Ellenson (6) were going to take advantage of being the tallest guys on the court.
However, MU was crap on the defensive glass, so I'm authorizing everyone to feel free to gloat about the good offensive OR%. DeSean Murray singlehandedly dragged PC to a respectable number on their misses, as he grabbed eight of them, with six coming in the first half. Marquette definitely cleaned up their act in that regard after the break, as Presby only secured 26% of their misses in the second half.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 31.5% (This Season: 38.8%, #119)
Presbyterian: 9.2% (This Season: 19.6%, #1)
A dominating victory for Marquette in FTR, so I don't even care that MU was a little off the usual pace on offense. Luke Fischer dominated this one for MU, recording 12 of Marquette's 23 free throw attempts in the game. In fact, Fischer ended up with a personal FTR of 109%, so nice job by him. After reading about his rebounds, it shouldn't be a surprise to you that DeSean Murray was PC's best FTR performer, getting to the line for four of Presbyterian's seven freebies.