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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: at #8 Providence

I look at Kris Dunn (PC #3) here, and all I hear is the sad Charlie Brown Christmas music.
I look at Kris Dunn (PC #3) here, and all I hear is the sad Charlie Brown Christmas music.
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

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: 53.5% (This Season: 51.6%, #94)
Providence: 41.0% (This Season: 45.1%, #36)

We'll get into it more in a second, but this game is one of those times where we get to see the proof that eFG% is the most important of the Four Factors.  Marquette wiped the mat with the Friars when it came to shooting efficiency, and the crazy bananas part about that is what MU did from long range.  The Golden Eagles were 2-11 from behind the three point line in this game, with both makes coming in the first half.  In the process of flushing an eight point lead and then falling behind by eight and then coming back to win by one, Marquette connected on a grand total of zero of their four three point attempts in the second half.  That is borderline non-sensical.

Ultimately, Marquette won the shooting battle in the first half.  Both teams had eFGs of 50% after intermission, but MU held Providence to an almost unheard of 33% eFG% in the first frame.  Meanwhile, those two made three pointers helped propel the Golden Eagles to 57% shooting.

Kris Dunn managed to have a good night, going 7-14 and 3-5 on threes, and Ben Bentil's 9-17 isn't bad by any stretch.  Everyone else, though.... eeeesh.  Rodney Bullock was Marquette's new best friend, shooting 3-11 on the night.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 26.4% (This Season: 19.8%, #253)
Providence: 22.1% (This Season:  20.4%, #76)

This is stage one of "eFG% is the most important Factor."  If you're an unranked team trying to beat a top 10 AP poll team on the road, generally speaking, you're going to want to NOT turn the ball over more than a quarter of the time.  Marquette was so bad at turning the ball over the in the first half.... the first half that ended with MU leading by six..... that when the TO% dropped from 33% before halftime to 20% after halftime, we had to clap our hands together about MU managing to still be worse than their already terrible season long average.  Yikes.  Every single Marquette player that got onto the court committed at least one turnover, and Jajuan Johnson is the only one that played longer than five minutes without turning it over at least twice.  Traci Carter?  FIVE TURNOVERS.

At least MU figured out a way to be more stout than usual on the defensive end.  At this point, I have to ask if Wojo's figured out some kind of tell in Kris Dunn's game.  Last year, when Providence visited Marquette, Dunn committed eight turnovers.  This game?  Seven giveaways for the national player of the year candidate.  The only flaw in my theory is that when Marquette went to the Dunk last year, Dunn only had one turnover.  Still, that's an average of more than five turnovers per game for a guy who's generally considered to be NBA ready right now.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 8.7% (This Season: 29.3%, #200)
Providence: 33.3% (This Season: 31.1%, #206)

Aaaaaaaaaaaand stage two.  Yes, this was the worst OR% performance of the season for the Golden Eagles.  Yes, their OR% has gone down in each of their Big East games.  No, that's generally not good, especially when Marquette's a crummy rebounding team in the first place.

Marquette's OR% in the first half was 0%.  They had zero offensive rebounds.  None.  What are the odds of that happening?  Yes, they only had 11 missed field goals in the frame, and they made all four of their free throw attempts, too.  Chances were limited, sure.  But not one of those misses accidentally fell into Luke Fischer's hands, including Fischer's own sole miss of the period?  None of those misses took a weird carom and went off a PC defender, thus crediting Marquette with a Team Deadball Offensive Rebound?  Absolutely nothing through 20 minutes?  Mindbending.

Marquette managed to muster two offensive rebounds in the second half, but Providence was just tearing it up all game long on the offensive glass.  Ben Bentil and Rodney Bullock combined to grab eight offensive rebounds, with Bentil reeling in four all by himself after halftime.  I can't even be that upset about the number that Marquette allowed to PC here because it's not that different from Marquette's defensive average for the season.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 58.1% (This Season: 40.1%, #104)
Providence: 29.5% (This Season: 23.1%, #2)

Guess what Marquette's FTR was in the second half.  Go on.  Guess.  I'll give you a hint by telling you that MU's first half FTR was just 17%, and they still ended up north of 58%.  Guess.  It'll be fun.

Ready?  Here it comes.

105%.

Marquette shot 21 second half free throws, and just 20 second half field goals.  No, I don't understand it.  I merely marvel at what has transpired.

We should point out that MU's defensive FTR is back under 30% here after spending the first two Big East games north of 40%.  It's still not as great as the average has been all season up to this point, but hey, it's a return to normalcy, so we'll let it slide.