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: 63.6% (This Season: 56.7%, #22)
Houston Baptist: 50.7% (This Season: 48.1%, #116)
Somewhat quietly, this was Marquette’s third worst shooting defense performance of the season, trailing only the losses to Michigan and Pitt. This is largely because of a second half where the Huskies had an eFG% of 58.3%. They went 6-for-10 from behind the arc, with Colter Lasher and Asa Cantwell both making two of their three long range attempts. If you’re one of the people who was annoyed by the Golden Eagles giving up 79 points in 76 possessions to HBU, there’s your major issue. The defense was great in the first half with an eFG% allowed of under 42%. It just went sideways after halftime, which is largely why Marquette and Houston Baptist just kind of floated around that 20 point margin.
You can’t be bummed out about Marquette matching HBU’s second half effort pretty closely with a 56.3%. That’s right about what they’ve been doing this season, and that’s pretty good, relatively speaking. Their first half shooting was essentially one long Johnny Storm impression with only Duane Wilson and Haanif Cheatham missing more than two shots.
Want to hear something fun? If you remove Katin Reinhardt’s 0-for-6 on long range shots from the equation, Marquette’s eFG% jumps to 70% even.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 14.4% (This Season: 16.4%, #58)
Houston Baptist: 15.9% (This Season: 20.1%, #130)
Whatever Steve Wojciechowski is drilling in practice, or whatever adjustments he’s made to the offense to simplify the passing and decision making, it’s working. Marquette’s turnovers are way, way down this season, and this game was just another example of how well the Golden Eagles can be at keeping track of the ball. After compiling six giveaways in the opening 20 minutes, they turned it over just five times after the break. Markus Howard (3), Luke Fischer (2), and Katin Reinhardt (2) were the only Marquette players that had more than one turnover on the night, and five guys didn’t have any. That includes Sam Hauser, who played a team high 28 minutes.
The defensive side leaves a little to be desired. The season long average is actually better than last year, but the ranking is a little lower, but I suspect there’s some cupcake sweetening involved there. Marquette does need to combat their lack of size with forcing possessions to end without a shot on a frequent basis, but outside of 6’11” Josh Ibarra, the Huskies didn’t have a lot of noticeable size, either. MU got away with one here, but it won’t work all the time.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 34.5% (This Season: 26.8%, #248)
Houston Baptist: 27.9% (This Season: 26.8%, #89)
High offensive rebounding, low enough defensive rebounding! This game was fun when you look at it through Windex tinted glasses!
Luke Fischer was particularly effective on the offensive glass, grabbing up five of Marquette’s 10 offensive rebounds on the night. At least two of his caroms were immediately flushed back down for tip in dunks, and tip in dunks are the best kind of dunks.
Houston Baptist didn’t do particularly well on the offensive glass, but they did have multiple players who recorded multiple offensive rebounds. They did push their OR% up to nearly 32% in the second half, which almost assuredly contributed to the overall sense that the half was not going well for Marquette.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 30.3% (This Season: 28.0%, #298)
Houston Baptist: 26.9% (This Season: 37.9%, #204)
This seems to be moving in a positive direction for the Golden Eagles. It’s their first game of the season with an FTR under 30%, and they accomplished that feat by keeping it under 30% in both halves. It’s the third worst (out of 6) FTR night on offense, but when 42% of your shots are three point attempts, you have to learn to live with a low offensive FTR. Luke Fischer was, again, very helpful in this category, posting a personal 50% FTR, and Haanif Cheatham’s 54% (7 FTA/13 FGA) also worked wonders for the Marquette.