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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: at Villanova

Ok, yes, the game wasn't fun to watch, especially if you saw a replay of Matt Carlino taking a tumble. Let's see what happened.

Yeah, it's about like that.
Yeah, it's about like that.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

If you're not familiar with the Four Factors as featured on, 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

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 40.0% (Season: 50.3%, #107)
Villanova: 46.7% (Season: 49.0%, #184)

Two straight craptacular shooting games for both teams, but two straight losses for the Golden Eagles.  That's no good, or at the very list, no fun.  Both teams shot under 40% in the first half, and as you can probably imagine from that 36-19 halftime score, Marquette barely shot 30%.

Good news: Matt Carlino shot 3-6 behind the arc.  Bad news: he went 3-10 overall.  Good news! Jajuan Johnson hit TWO of his three three point attempts, breaking his streak of 16 straight misses.  Bad news: MU needed both of those makes to get to 37.5% from long range in the game.  That's an acceptable number, really, but when it's relying on Johnson (19% on the season) to be hitting jumpers, we're all in a lot of trouble.

In the defensive good news department, Marquette forced Dylan Ennis into missing all four three-pointers he attempted to end up at 1-6 on the night, while Josh Hart came off the bench to shoot 4-13 overall.  Bad news: Villanova's got at least three other dudes who will rip your lungs out, Jim.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 25.6% (Season: 18.9%, #140)
Villanova: 22.4% (Season: 22.2%, #34)

Excellent defensive work by the Golden Eagles, forcing Darrun Hilliard, Daniel Ochefu, and Ryan Arcidiacono into three turnovers each.  It's really, really hard for a team that's as good as Marquette at forcing turnovers to push past their season average, even by a few tenths of a point, so this was a great outing by MU.  Both halves were equally as strong: 23% in the first half, 21% in the second.

On offense, though..... SHEESH.  Ok, look, here's the thing: MU was fine in the second half.  #140 in the country isn't super great, obviously, but if you average 18.9% and hit 18.0% for a half, that's fine.  The first half was an unrepentant disaster.  Marquette turned it over on more than one-third of their possessions.  On average, Marquette was worse than shot-shot-turnover for the first twenty minutes of the game.  Jajuan Johnson is the only player on the team that played 10 or more minutes before intermission and didn't commit at least one turnover, and Derrick Wilson is the only player to commit only one turnover.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 35.0% (Season: 29.9%, #213)
Villanova: 42.9% (Season: 36.1%, #332)


This is just so depressing.  For 40 minutes, Marquette managed to figure out how to snag a few more offensive rebounds than normal, which is great, because normal is actually pretty bad.  But apparently the Stickum only applied on the offensive end, because calling Marquette a dumpster fire on the defensive glass is being nice.

Everyone understands that there's 351 teams in Division 1, right?  That there's only 19 teams in Division 1 that are worse on the season at defensive rebounding percentage than Marquette, and only one team worse than them (Virginia Tech) that's in one of KenPom's current 12 best conferences in the country.  AND SOMEHOW, Villanova was allowed to get EVEN MORE of their misses than Marquette usually allows.  Half of their offensive rebounds came just from JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu.  Moving on.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 11.7% (Season: 35.6%, #217)
Villanova: 31.1% (Season: 28.8%, #27)

Crap, this is almost worse.

Ok, first things first, as a reminder: this stat is comparing Marquette's free throw attempts to MU's field goal attempts, and the same thing for Villanova.  The 19-7 free throw disparity between the two teams that favored the Wildcats has nothing to do with these numbers.  Secondly, I really can't take exception to the less than 3 point difference between MU's season long defensive mark and where Villanova ended up here.

Look, I get it: there was a nasty foul differential in this game, with Nova only being whistled for 11 fouls for the whole game.  But here's the deal: If you've got three of the 25 best block rate guys in the Big East on your team, and two of the best 250 guys in the country, you don't really commit fouls while defending on the perimeter, and especially when you know that Matt Carlino is more likely to shoot from out there than do anything else.  If someone gets past Ryan Arcidiacono, or Dylan Ennis, or Darrun Hilliard, they're just going to let them go because the odds of JayVaughn Pinkston or Daniel Ochefu either wiping out the shot or putting a nasty alteration on it is pretty great.  So why foul?  Villanova's one of the 45 best FTR defense teams in the country for a reason.