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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: vs #6 Villanova

Good shooting counterbalanced by a bad shooting defense day was Marquette's doom against the Wildcats on Saturday.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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: 53.5% (Season: 49.8%, #136)
Villanova: 57.8% (Season: 49.1%, #171)

Ah, crap.  A good shooting day wasted by worse than the season average on the defensive end.  Duane Wilson went 3-7 behind the arc to help prop things up, but only 4-11 overall, and Luke Fischer was a pretty great 6-10 from the field.  But Marquette's best offensive performance might belong to none other than Jajuan Johnson.  The sophomore from Memphis went 6-12 on the day, but more importantly, he went THREE FOR SIX from behind the arc.  Now, let's not get confused here: he's still shooting just 21% on the season from long range.  But.  I'm tempted to officially be okay with Johnson letting fly from long range.  He started the Big East schedule by going by missing 15 straight through MU's first nine games.  But since then, in the last five games, Johnson has shot 6-16, for a shooting percentage of 37.5%.  That's completely acceptable bordering on actually pretty good, so if Johnson's figured his stroke out....

Back to that defensive problem, though.  Darrun Hilliard: 3-6 behind the arc.  Ryan Arcidiacono: 3-4.  Dylan Ennis: 3-4.  GAAAAAAAAAAAH. 9 of 14 just from those three dudes, and sure, the rest of the team went 2-7, but does it really matter?  I guess overall it's not so bad, as the Wildcats shot a pure 47%, but when they're going bananas behind the arc, you can't really take a moral victory there.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 11.8% (Season: 18.6%, #124)
Villanova: 14.7% (Season: 21.9%, #30)

Always important to trying to pull an unlikely upset against a top 10 team: don't turn the ball over.  Marquette can easily check that box off on their list, as they committed just eight in the whole game and just three after halftime as they were trying to stay with the Wildcats. No one committed more than two turnovers, and only Luke Fischer committed both of his turnovers in one half.

The downside is that Marquette wasn't their usual defensive selves, which might be the difference here, other than that annoying shooting thing.  Two notes on that though: seven of Nova's 10 turnovers came in the second half, and two: Nova's almost as good at keeping the ball (ranked #44 in the country) as Marquette is at taking it away and this was actually a good day for them at holding on to the rock.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 23.7% (Season: 29.0%, #250)
Villanova: 35.7% (Season: 36.5%, #340)

yaaaaaay slightly better defensive rebounding wooooo

That's all the enthusiasm I can muster for a 0.8 percentage point improvement from the horrifyingly awful season long average.  Again, there's only 351 teams in Division 1.  A few more 37% outings by MU's opponents on the offensive glass, and the Golden Eagles will officially be one of the 10 worst defensive rebounding teams in the country for this season.

JayVaughn Pinkston had four offensive rebounds for Villanova, which is almost half as many as Marquette did as a team, as they ended up with nine.  I don't want to talk about this any more.  Let's move on.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 43.9% (Season: 36.0%, #207)
Villanova: 70.6% (Season: 31.2%, #51)