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: 42.9% (Season: 50.9%, #93)
Butler: 41.0% (Season: 49.1%, #189)
Well, this certainly was an ugly game to watch, in retrospect. The two teams combined to miss - MISS! - 81 shots over the course of 45 minutes. As you can imagine, Marquette was much better off in the second half than in the first, as the Golden Eagles popped in half of the eight three pointers that they attempted. On top of that, MU's defense was better in the second half, too, allowing Butler an eFG% of just slightly over 38%.
It's nice to see Marquette pick up the win in the eFG% category as it is the most important of the Four Factors, even with Matt Carlino posting a 3-12 night behind the three point line. But as we'll get to, if it's a close margin here, something else can determine the course of the game.
Jajuan Johnson Watch: He attempted one three pointer in this game, an in-rhythm, catch and shoot long ball as the shot clock was nearly about expire. He missed, running his streak to 16 consecutive misses, and his overall 3 point percentage on the season to 15.6%. Yes, he had to shoot this one because someone had to shoot it in that situation. But he still needs to not shoot any more three pointers.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 15.3% (Season: 18.6%, #119)
Butler: 18.7% (Season: 22.2%, #32)
Not a lot of turnovers in the game overall, and given the low number of made shots in the game, I'm okay with that. If we're not going to get a lot of hot shooting in the game, I'd like to see a game where the teams aren't unleashing passes into the fifth row, too.
Only three players in the game had more than one turnover: Butler's Alex Barlow had three, while Marquette had two from Luke Fischer and three from Matt Carlino. It would have been nice to see Marquette force a few more turnovers to keep with their season average on this one, especially as two possessions, maybe a third, could have made the difference in favor of Marquette in the final result.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 26.3% (Season: 29.6%, #224)
Butler: 45.2% (Season: 35.7%, #328)
And there it is. When you have small margins on the other Factors, one wide margin can swing a game. Marquette is already a shoddy rebounding team, and here, they were worse than their average on both ends of the court. To put it another way: Marquette's margins for victory are very slim the way things are this season already. They can not under any circumstances allow a team to get to nearly half of their misses to extend possessions like this. This is exactly how Marquette can outshoot a team like they did against Butler because Butler's getting second chance shots, and those are the ones going in. The Bulldogs finished with 19 offensive rebounds and 14 second chance points. Two, maybe three more rebounds going Marquette's direction after a Butler missed shot would have won the game for the Golden Eagles. Pure and simple.
Kameron Woods was particularly damaging to Marquette's chances, as he grabbed SEVEN offensive rebounds and eleven on the defensive side as well. On top of that, Roosevelt Jones had three rebounds, all on the offensive end, while Andrew Chrabascz snagged four on both ends to do some damage in addition to his game high 30 points. Respect must be paid to Juan Anderson, who gathered four of his seven rebounds off the offensive glass.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 27.0% (Season: 36.9%, #189)
Butler: 26.9% (Season: 28.7%, #26)
Here we have Marquette's usually stout defense not fouling and giving Butler chances to score points with the clock stopped. Thumbs up on that one, of course. On the other side, though.... well, that's not good. MU is slightly below the national median at getting to the line, and going way below their usual average is really not helpful. With Matt Carlino attempting to do most of his damage behind the three point line and Luke Fischer slowly disappearing during conference play like he's one of Marty McFly's siblings in a photograph, it starts to get hard to rack up freebies. I'm not calling for Duane Wilson and Sandy Cohen to start careening into the lane with nothing but a prayer of drawing contact in their heads, but Marquette has to find ways of scoring when their shots aren't falling from the field as well.