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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: vs #17 Wisconsin

Say it with me: “Boy, things really got bad for the Golden Eagles in the second half.”

Wisconsin v Marquette Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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: 55.2% (This Season: 57.9%, #10)

Wisconsin: 65.5% (This Season: 50.6%, #192)

Cards on the table: Marquette’s defense was no good in the first half when they allowed an eFG% of 57%. Somehow they lucked into Vitto Brown thinking it was okay to lead the team in field goals attempted, as he had eight and only made two. I can’t imagine how bad things could or would have gotten if those shots had gone somewhere else. As you can guess from the game long mark, things got completely out of control in the second half to the tune of 73%. I mentioned it in the recap, but only Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig missed more than one shot after intermission for the Badgers, and even they combined to shoot 5-of-12, which isn’t even really worth noting as some kind of defensive accomplishment. Pick whichever part you want to be mad about: the 5-of-8 on threes or the 13-of-20 on twos. Either one is fine.

It should be made clear that Marquette did not lose this game because of an offensive power outage. The Golden Eagles assembled eFG% marks over 53% in both halves. That kind of shooting should - SHOULD - be enough to win you basketball games on most nights. Possibly the most impressive thing about it is that Sam Hauser, who is shooting over 50% on threes this season, was held to just one field goal attempt in 18 minutes, but Marquette still was great at shooting the ball on Saturday. The other possibility for most impressive was Katin Reinhardt going 4-of-5 on triples. He had made just three of his previous 18 long range attempts coming into the game and after this performance, he’s up over 30% on the season. It’s still not the kind of season long number you’d like to see, but I’m willing to see where this goes from here.

Still can’t believe he shot that Ali Faroukmanesh triple, though. At least it went in.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 16.5% (This Season: 16.2%, #38)

Wisconsin: 12.9% (This Season: 19.5%, #147)

This was a bad time for Marquette to decide to have its worst defensive TO% game of the season. You can absorb a little bit of the white hot shooting that Wisconsin was putting on display if you’re turning them over fairly often, if for no other reason than it helps limit the points per possession from inflating up to, oh, let’s say, 1.57 like the Badgers had in the second half. Not coincidentally, UW only turned it over on 5% of their second half possessions. See how that works?

I don’t really have a lot to say about Marquette’s TO% on the offensive end, considering it was pretty much the really great number that they’ve been putting up all season. At some point, we’re going to need to talk about Jajuan Johnson, though. He’s recorded 12 turnovers in Marquette’s last four games, which is not good. Even worse, his three giveaways in this game came in a season low 15 minutes. Given what he’s capable of on defense (#12 in the country in steal rate), Johnson can not limit himself minutes-wise by being turnover prone.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 24.2% (This Season: 26.7%, #257)

Wisconsin: 29.6% (This Season: 25.1%, #44)

Credit where credit is due: Marquette did about as good of a job on the glass across the full 40 minutes of this game as you could expect. Wisconsin is the best defensive rebounding team in the country, so getting reasonably close to your (admittedly crummy) season long offensive rebounding rate average is a pretty good outing. Marquette has been bordering on being an elite defensive rebounding team themselves, and the Badgers are currently ranked #12 in the country in offensive OR%, so holding them to 10 percentage points below their season average is a pretty good job.

However, Marquette’s efforts on both ends of the court were absolutely terrible in the second half, at least relative to their first half performances and their game long numbers. MU grabbed just 18% of their own misses while allowing Wisconsin to get to 33% of their misses. 33% is still down for the Badgers, so that’s something at least. However, UW grabbed only 25% of their missed shots in the first half, so you can see why the sudden ballooning was a problem. This just made Wisconsin’s stellar shooting after intermission even worse than it already was.

Marquette’s offensive rebounding was almost entirely Luke Fischer (3) and Haanif Cheatham (3). Their only other two offensive rebounds are credited as “TEAM,” which means they were MU shots that Wisconsin knocked out of bounds. Here’s a great example of how awful Marquette was at offensive rebounding in the second half: Two of Cheatham’s grabs came with less than 2:30 left in the game. One of them came in the final minute. Those two rebounds elevated Marquette to 18% for the half. Think about that.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 39.7% (This Season: 31.6%, #252)

Wisconsin: 52.7% (This Season: 37.7%, #216)

Ok, we should probably start with the fact that these FTR numbers are basically fake. I know, I know, the whole 40 minutes counts, blah blah blah. There were a combined 32 free throws shot in the final four minutes of this game, and that doesn’t even include the pair that D`Mitrik Trice shot with 4:13 remaining. If you wipe away those FTs in the final four minutes (and, to be fair, the 11 field goal attempts, too), Marquette’s FTR drops to just 18% (9 FTA/50 FGA) and Wisconsin’s dips to 21.2% (11 FTA/52 FGA). I’m not saying that the game was poorly refereed in the final four minutes, or even that it was refereed any differently than the rest of the game. For a lot of the time, Marquette was openly trying to foul to extend the game. I’m just saying that things got completely out of hand in terms of free throws across the final 10% of the game.