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, at least for the first few games of the season, is last year’s season long average for the Golden Eagles, and the next is where they ranked across the country on KenPom.com. Once we get a few games in, we’ll change that to Marquette’s current season average and rank.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 44.4% (2015-16: 52.0%, #76)
Michigan: 59.4% (2015-16: 48.7%, #107)
I’m staring at the box score trying to find a notable problem with Marquette’s shooting, because this was their worst outing in the first three games. There’s Katin Reinhardt’s 1-for-8 overall and 1-for-6 from long range, which definitely did not help things. There’s Haanif Cheatham’s 3-for-9 from the field, which isn’t great. Markus Howard went 2-for-5, but that’s not even close to bad, to be honest. Sam Hauser was 0-for-3, but that’s not that big of a problem. Jajuan Johnson and Luke Fischer combined to miss 10 shots, but they both shot 50% or better, so you can’t fault them in the slightest. Weirdly, it was a team effort to shoot like crap.
Michigan’s damage was done in the first half, when they posted a 70.4% eFG% largely due to hitting 55% of their three pointers. I can’t help but wonder if the Wolverines poked fun at Derrick Walton in the locker room at halftime because he was the only player who took more than one shot in the first 20 minutes but wasn’t shooting at least 50%. If Marquette’s second half defensive effort (48.1% eFG%) had applied to the entire game, they would have at least had a chance to win the game, but it was long over by the time that started.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 21.0% (2015-16: 20.0%, #292)
Michigan: 23.1% (2015-16: 19.1%, #108)
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out that Marquette was atrocious on turnovers in the first half (33%) and super amazing (9%) in the second half. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski said before the season started that the goal for the year was 10 or fewer turnovers in every game. His desired pace of play probably makes that goal unachievable, but for this game, that doesn’t even matter in the slightest. The Golden Eagles committed their 10th turnover of the game with 6:04 left in the first half, just 11 seconds after the ninth turnover of the game turned into a layup by Mark Donnal that put Michigan up by 18. If that doesn’t hang a sign on Wojo’s “10 turnovers or fewer” goal as something that can completely dictate a game, I don’t know what does.
At least the defense was strong, and it was strong, with TO% over 20%, in both halves. The Wolverines finished with 17 turnovers, and nine of them were the result of Marquette steals. Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman and Zak Irvin both committed four turnovers in the game, so it seems pretty clear that the Golden Eagles knew where they could make their money on the defensive end.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 17.1% (2015-16: 28.1%, #229)
Michigan: 22.2% (2015-16: 30.7%, #225)
Can you be simultaneously excited and disgusted by something? Defensive rebounding: Really great! Offensive rebounding: Horrifyingly awful!
Through the first two categories here, we talked about how Marquette was much better in the second half at keeping the ball, taking it away from Michigan, and playing better shooting defense. That was not the case when it came to their offensive rebounding, as they got to just two of their 19 misses (10.5%). That was the half where they outscored Michigan and did carve into the lead a little bit in the middle of the frame, so we’re left with the question of “what if they had gotten a few more second chances?”
Marquette allowed Michigan to get to just three offensive rebounds in each half, which is great news. D.J. Wilson and Mark Donnal were able to get two each in the game, which probably has a lot to do with their size advantage, but other than that, no one did anything worth noting for the Wolverines.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 33.3% (2015-16: 40.5%, #82)
Michigan: 37.7% (2015-16: 28.0%, #25)
This game was not won or lost because of foul shots. However, yet once again, Marquette allowed their opponent to get to the line much, much more than they have in the past under Steve Wojciechowski. The foul shots themselves are not having a major impact on the game, I want to make that perfectly clear. However, the cause for the foul shots - y’know, the fouls committed by Marquette - may be having an impact on the games. Maybe not this one, as there were a number of other issues, but this can’t be good news for the Golden Eagles as the season progresses.