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 on a national level on KenPom.com.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 64.3% (This Season: 55.3%, #59)
IUPUI: 45.6% (This Season: 47.4%, #120)
Yeah, those two numbers will win you a ball game handily. Usually, when you see a really high eFG% like Marquette had here, it’s the by-product of really great three-point shooting. That wasn’t entirely the case here. MU was 9-for-23 overall from long range, which is good, but not absurd. In this case, the eFG% was boosted by Marquette shooting 68% on two point buckets. Perhaps most impressively, Marquette was essentially just as good in the first half (68.4%) on twos as they were in the second half (66.7%).
Marquette’s defense was good, and there’s not much that jumps out of the box score as particularly notable when it comes to IUPUI’s shooting. We should probably point out that MU held Darell Combs to a 3-for-10 outing. A year ago, when the Golden Eagles needed overtime to topple the Jaguars, Combs was 8-for-17, including an unreal 7-for-9 in the second half. It’s a minor thing, but at least there’s evidence to suggest that Wojo and his staff went out of their way to avoid that problem reoccurring.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 16.8% (This Season: 16.8%, #80)
IUPUI: 17.5% (This Season: 21.0%, #94)
Turnovers continue to be much improved over last year. The Golden Eagles can probably expect to be fairly successful if they can maintain a TO% around 17% this season. This low of a number is probably more impressive than you might think, because Traci Carter and Luke Fischer both had three turnovers in the game, and that accounted for essentially half of MU’s 13 giveaways in the game. After just one turnover in Marquette’s first two games, Carter has committed seven in the last three contests. His playing time is already being cut way back from last season, and a continuance of his turnover troubles from last year is not going to help him earn Wojo’s trust this year.
Only D.J. McCall seemed to have difficulty with Marquette’s defense, turning the ball over four times for IUPUI. MU’s shooting eradicated the need for outstanding defense in this category, but the Golden Eagles are going to be able to shoot over 60% on two pointers all season. They got away with a low number of takeaways here, but that will need to be higher in the future.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 40.7% (This Season: 25.4%, #261)
IUPUI: 33.3% (This Season: 26.5%, #99)
Hey, can you tell that out of the guys playing at least 40% of the time for IUPUI, none of them are taller than 6’8”? Sam Hauser and Luke Fischer both wrapped up three missed Golden Eagle shots in this game, which was more than half of their offensive rebounds. More importantly, it was a better than usual outing for Marquette this season on the offensive glass. That’s significant, because the Golden Eagles have gotten worse at getting second chances from last season, and they were already not good a year ago.
While this was a worse than usual defensive rebounding effort for MU, I can’t really complain too loudly about it for two reasons. First, Marquette’s been much improved on the defensive glass from last season. Both Haanif Cheatham and Jajuan Johnson have showed improvements in their personal defensive rebounding rates this season, and Johnson was particularly good in this game, grabbing up five of IUPUI’s misses. The other reason I can’t be worried about this slip up too much is because Marquette was worse at defensive rebounding in the first half than in the second, and all MU did in the first half was open up a 23 point lead.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 41.3% (This Season: 27.5%, #302)
IUPUI: 36.8% (This Season: 40.4%, #229)
Finally, a game above 35% for Marquette after averaging over 40% a year ago. Do you think that Katin Reinhardt getting eight free throw attempts in the first half alone had a major impact on MU’s FTR? (HINT: MU’s 1st half FTR was 57%.)
It’s also nice to see MU dip below 40% on the defensive end for the third time this season, although they’ve yet to go below 35%. If you see Wojo getting stressed out by foul calls on the sideline, this is why. One of the things we could rely on with his teams has been keeping opponents off the free throw line. That hasn’t been the case yet this season. Marquette hasn’t won or lost a game this season because of FTR, and maybe they won’t this season at all. When you’re looking for every margin possible to cover over a lack of size on the roster, though, you can’t be handing the opponent chances at free points.