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: 53.8% (Season: 49.9%, #127)
Butler: 56.6% (Season: 49.3%, #182)
As could be expected without Andrew Chrabascz in the lineup for Butler, Marquette went inside on the Bulldogs and it worked exquisitely well. Luke Fischer went 7-8 and Steve Taylor, Jr., was 3-4. It wasn't one of the better three point shooting nights that you'll ever see (3-11), but it would appear that Marquette identified the obvious spot where they could do some damage and went after it.
The downside is, obviously, the defense. If you want to beat Butler, you CAN NOT under any circumstances what so ever let Kellen Dunham shoot 8-14 with a 4-6 mark from long range. You may as well just forfeit the game. Maybe you can get away with that if everyone else on the team is missing everything in sight, but that was not the case, and even less the case in the second half. Butler shot 52% straight up after intermission and because they shot 5-7 behind the arc in the second frame, they had an eFG% of 61%. Ignore the fact that Marquette went "Syracuse during a polar vortex" cold in the second half (7-18, 0-5 from distance). It doesn't matter when Butler's filling up the net like crazy.
Jajuan Johnson Watch: 0-1 from distance, which I won't say anything mean about after he went 3-6 against Villanova. 0-4 overall in 23 minutes, though, so that's no good.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 20.5% (Season: 18.7%, #129)
Butler: 10.6% (Season: 21.5%, #44)
If you're going to play a 55 possession game like Marquette did against Butler here, you have to value possession of the basketball. That was not the case here, nor in the rebounding department, but we'll get to that.
MU's own ball control was a little worse than their normal average, which isn't really a big deal. And honestly? Most times you can survive 11 turnovers in a game. You just can't do it when you're going to play with so few possessions. The ugliness was spread around the team with five of Marquette's eight players having two turnovers each.
What really stung the Golden Eagles is not forcing turnovers. If you're a little worse at keeping track of it, but right on your outstanding defensive number, you can live with it. Here, Butler only committed six turnovers all game long, with only Alex Barlow breaking into crooked numbers. There are going to be games where the opponent doesn't turn it over all that much, we know that. It just can't happen when it's a slow game and MU is already slightly careless with the ball.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 19.0% (Season: 28.7%, #258)
Butler: 46.2% (Season: 36.8%, #341)
Nope, ain't hit bottom yet on the rebounding cavern. Did I mention the need to value the basketball when you're playing slowly? Look at Wisconsin, who averages over 59 possessions a game aka somehow faster than this MU-Butler game was played. 346th out of 351 in tempo in the country, but they turn the ball over the least out of anyone and only Arizona is better at ending a defensive possession with a rebound on the first shot attempt. Valuing possession. This has to be driving Wojo nuts.
Shoutout to Luke Fischer for his team high two offensive rebounds, but we're going to retract that shutout because that accounted for a full two-thirds of his total rebounds. Meanwhile, Tyler Wideman had four on each end to systematically smother Marquette in this game.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 35.0% (Season: 36.0%, #206)
Butler: 37.7% (Season: 31.5%, #55)
You know what? This is fine. Yeah, I don't like seeing that #206 in the offensive ranking, but there's way bigger issues than Marquette not getting to the line enough. Bravo to Butler for not getting foul happy while Marquette had the obvious intent of pounding the ball in the middle all game long, though.