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 is Marquette's season long average in that category, and the second is their national ranking on KenPom.com.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 37.5% (Season: 49.7%, #134)
Xavier: 43.6% (Season: 48.2%, #142)
At least the defense was good?
Even when you toss out the 3-15 effort from long range, Marquette still only shot 41% on two-point buckets in this game. The 44% eFG% in the first half is roughly acceptable, but the 30% - not a typo - in the second half is not, under any circumstances. To turn our attention back to that three-point shooting for a moment, it's worth noting that Marquette was a few fractions of inches away from having a respectable night from distance. Sandy Cohen attempted four three-pointers for his only four attempts of the game and all four rattled off the inside of the rim and out. If even two of them are millimeters in a different direction, those shots fall, and 5-15 looks okay. Still, even in that imaginary situation, it only boosts the overall eFG% up to 43.3% for the game. Still no good.
On the defensive end, Marquette did a pretty good job on everyone except for Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura, and sadly, both of those guys buried Marquette at the three point line. Those two gentlemen combined to hit on five of their 10 three point attempts and shot 9-17 overall. The rest of the team? 12 for 38 over the course of the game.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 23.5% (Season: 19.2%, #157)
Xavier: 18.8% (Season: 22.1%, #34)
I remember when Marquette was really good at protecting the ball. It was only back in December of 2014.
At the speed that Marquette is playing (#222 in the country in tempo), they can't afford to cough it up 15 times in a game. They really can't afford to have two different players commit three turnovers in a game, and definitely can't afford to have four guys throw it away at least twice. Right now, Marquette's inability to value possession is merely compounding their problems. They can't shoot straight and they can't grab their misses (more on that in a moment), and on top of that, the ball is flying out of their hands and into the opponents' grip on a much too regular basis.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 25.0% (Season: 29.4%, #229)
Xavier: 39.4% (Season: 36.3%, #336)
How is it that Luke Fischer is terrible at offensive rebounding? Last year, in admittedly short minutes for Indiana, Fischer grabbed 11% of the available offensive rebounds for the Hoosiers while he was on the floor. This year, Fischer's only rounding up 5.5% of Marquette's misses. Granted, he's boosted his defensive rebounding rate up nearly two points, but somehow, his offensive production is down by nearly half. I bring this up here specifically because Fischer had zero offensive rebounds in 31 minutes. It's the fifth time this season that the 6'11" Germantown native has not given MU a second chance to score for an entire game.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the court, five different Musketeers grabbed at least one offensive rebound, including four by Jalen Reynolds and three from Trevon Bluiett. In the second half, Xavier grabbed 58% - fifty-eight percent - of their missed shots. Marquette was missing 70% of their shots, turning the ball over on one-quarter of their possessions, and on top of all of that, nearly 60% of Xavier's misses landed back in the hands of a man wearing a black uniform.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 23.1% (Season: 35.5%, #223)
Xavier: 38.2% (Season: 29.4%, #33)
With the exception of the shooting defense, nothing else went right for Marquette in this game. In a game where they were without Matt Carlino, their most dependable three-point shooter, the Golden Eagles found themselves completely unable to get to the line on a regular basis. Then, to make things even worse, they let Xavier get to the line more than their opponents usually do, which is one of the few strengths that the Golden Eagles actually have this season. Myles Davis (6-6) and Matt Stainbrook (7-9) were particularly effective and damaging to MU's hopes and chances in this game. Duane Wilson was the only Golden Eagle to get more than two tries from the charity stripe, and he went 2-4.