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: 43.8% (This Season: 51.5%, #95)
Georgetown: 54.7% (This Season: 45.4%, #44)
Here's how bad Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer were in this game: Marquette went 5-10 from long range in this game and still finished with a sub-45% eFG%. The eFG% on the triples alone was 75%! If you swipe Ellenson and Fischer out of the box score, Marquette's eFG% blasts all the way up above 53%! This is NOT an argument to stop giving them the ball in the future. Let's not be insane here. It is, however, an argument that sometimes things need to get changed up in the course of a game. Hell, Fischer was 4-8 in the first half! That's cool by me.
I can even argue that Marquette's defensive effort wasn't all bad. Item the first: Georgetown's first half eFG% was 64.1%, so you have to give credit to Wojo and the boys for figuring a bunch of stuff out in the second half, when the Hoyas only shot 40.5%. Item the second: Right up until D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera threw two daggers Marquette's way in the final two minutes, Georgetown's eFG% in the second half was a nightmarish (for them) 34%. Hell, L.J. Peak had a layup on GU's last FG attempt before DSR's heroism, and if you bump that, things plummet down to barely over 30%.
Yes, I get it, we have to count everything that happened in 40 minutes in these stat breakdowns. So, yes, those last three buckets by the Hoyas are annoying. The point is that Marquette posted 16 minutes of one hell of a defensive effort to drag themselves back into this game. The only down side to the whole deal, really, is that the defensive effort was needed in the first place.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 13.7% (This Season: 19.4%, #224)
Georgetown: 21.9% (This Season: 20.3%, #80)
This is the eighth time this season that Marquette's TO% has been under 20%, and the fourth time it's been below 15%. As we've talked about before, there's not a lot of difference in the percentage points between #224 where Marquette is and #175, the median of the country. That's currently sitting at 18.5, occupied by UAB. Three oppressively bad games in TO% - IUPUI, Iowa, and LSU - are dragging this thing into the dirt a bit, but let's focus on what's important: Marquette is, in general, playing a bit better than this season average actually shows.
On the other end of the court, woah, Nelly, as Keith Jackson used to say. Marquette was building a lean-to in Isaac Copeland's pocket, forcing him into five miscues in the game. L.J. Peak doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to ripping his teammate on that item, as he had four turnovers himself. MU's big push on turnovers came in the second half, when they forced the Hoyas to cough it up on over 31% of their possessions. Between that and Marquette's respectable (not really, but we'll get to it) rebounding in the second frame, you can start to see how important the simple act of making a shot or two is to the outcome of a game.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 17.9% (This Season: 30.3%, #173)
Georgetown: 25.0% (This Season: 31.0%, #196)
Ok, let's face facts: THIS SUCKS. This, being Marquette's outing on their own misses. When you're already an average rebounding team, you can't really have a lot of luck at winning games when you try to see if you can halve your already vaguely crummy average. For what it's worth (and it's not much), this is not Marquette's worst OR% performance on their end of the court, just baaaarely eclipsed by a 17.5% against Arizona State.
As I alluded to in the turnover department, there is some minor positive news, and it's largely tied to the really great job that Marquette did on Georgetown's offensive rebounding efforts. The Hoyas got to 27% of their misses in the second half, which is a completely acceptable number for MU's defense. That's why it's okay that MU only got to 22% of their misses in the second half. You can get away with a crummy OR% if you're forcing your opponent into a (roughly) similar crummy OR%.
The 14% they threw up in the first half, though? GAH.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 53.6% (This Season: 39.2%, #114)
Georgetown: 43.4% (This Season: 22.7%, #2)
Well, it's official. The last two games have featured Marquette's two worst defensive FTR numbers of the entire season. It's not just an issue of Marquette getting propped up on FTR by playing a bunch of cupcakes and suddenly getting run by high powered teams. They hung a 10.6% on Iowa and a 6.1% on Wisconsin. Yes, their two previous worsts were against LSU and Arizona State, buuuuuuuuut both of those were still way down in the thirties, while both of the last two games have been free and clear over 40%.
I can't explain it, other than these last two have been reffed by guys assigned to the game by the Big East as opposed to hired by the event organizers or the home team as they were for the rest of the season. It's possible that the league has sent their refs out with the directive of calling every game as tight as possible, because that's the only explanation I can come up with for "Marquette has been extra stingy on letting opponents get to the line, but suddenly isn't any more," particularly in a season where the referees are supposed to be calling things a bit tighter due to the offensive freedom of movement emphasis.
Also: Can I mention that I'm kind of surprised that Marquette's FTR was so high AND their eFG% was so low, especially given that the reason for the eFG% being so low was completely a result of MU's two best Fouls Drawn Per 40 Minutes guys being bad at shooting?