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 one is the season long average for the Golden Eagles, and the next is where they rank across the country on KenPom.com.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 54.8% (This Season: 50.9%, #119)
DePaul: 42.1% (This Season: 45.8%, #38)
Before we all get together and clap hands and squeal with glee, we have to realize how this offensive performance actually happened. MU's eFG% in the first half was a near disaster, barely above 41%. In order to end up better than their season average, Marquette had to assemble a second half eFG% of SEVENTY-ONE PERCENT. The Golden Eagles missed seven total shots after halftime, with three of them coming off the hands of Haanif Cheatham. Not knocking him, just pointing it out. You have to wonder if this game turns out differently if Luke Fischer doesn't snag two fouls before the Under 16 timeout. He sat for the entire rest of the first half and then played 18 minutes in the second half. Sure, he only had two shots (made them both) but given Marquette's overall shooting difference, you can't help but wonder if Fischer's mere existence on the court altered things in MU's favor.
While he ended up scoring the game winning basket, Marquette did a solid job defending Billy Garrett. He ended up shooting 5 for 19 on the night and scored all 14 of his points after halftime. Even though that's a pretty good half, he wasn't particularly efficient at getting it, as he took 13 of his shots after the break. MU's defense on Myke Henry was also pretty decent, frustrating him into a 6 for 16 outing.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 25.8% (This Season: 20.1%, #279)
DePaul: 23.2% (This Season: 20.3%, #67)
Just under 25% in the first half, just barely under 27% in the second half. Not to paint with a broad brush here, but this is why Marquette lost the game. Not because they were really good elsewhere (just wait til you see the mess that was the rebounding), but because with four minutes to play, MU's TO% for the game was just under 20%. Their final seven possessions: turnover, turnover, turnover, turnover, Duane Wilson jumper, turnover, Duane Wilson putback. With four minutes, Marquette led by five points and held their business together just enough to be able to pull out a win. Then, in the span of two minutes, they turned the ball over four times - two of Haanif Cheatham's four in the game and the only two turnovers in the game by Jajuan Johnson - and allowed DePaul to tie the game.
At least the defense was really good. Billy Garrett lumped four turnovers onto his shoddy shooting night, and Myke Henry had three to make his offensive day even worse, too.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 26.1% (This Season: 29.0%, #204)
DePaul: 44.4% (This Season: 31.4%, #224)
Like I said, a mess. DePaul had a four point lead at halftime almost entirely because they had grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, which was 55% of their misses. Fifty-five percent! Maybe you can pin a little bit of this on Fischer being on the bench because Matt Heldt had a grand total of one defensive rebound in 11 first half minutes, but it seems unfair to put Fischer and/or Heldt on blast for that when there was four other dudes on the court at all times. Myke Henry had five offensive grabs for the Blue Demons, but the really depressing thing is that four of DePaul's offensive rebounds came merely because Marquette knocked one of their shots out of bounds. That's four rebounds that essentially landed in MU's lap, but they couldn't do anything about it.
Meanwhile, Luke Fischer had a team high two offensive rebounds, and I remind you that he played three minutes in the first half. Sure, a wide margin of MU's shots in the second half went though the net, but it's not like they were running away with the game, either. Maintaining possession of the ball has to be a bigger priority for this team, both on the offensive glass and in general relative to the Turnover Rate.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 35.7% (This Season: 38.7%, #133)
DePaul: 19.3% (This Season: 25.1%, #7)
A return to form on FTR defense for the Golden Eagles. I have nothing to say here, other than if DePaul's number is 17.5% (10/57) instead of 19.3% (11/57), the game goes to overtime.