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.
(Minor disclaimer: The season averages are taken from after the SIUE game. With the short turnaround, we didn’t get to the Four Factors before then, so we’ll have to settle for the more recent season numbers.)
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
Marquette: 55.8% (This Season: 57.7%, #12)
St. Francis: 46.7% (This Season: 49.6%, #165)
This is a slightly misleading stat. You can look at this and say, “Hey, that’s pretty close to the season number, so why did Marquette look so bad in this game?” Well, it’s because MU had a 67% eFG% in the first half and a 43% eFG% in the second half. Put them together, and you get an overall number that’s perfectly acceptable. The way things actually shook out, though, gave us a final 20 minutes where the Golden Eagles struggled to put away the Red Flash.
Marquette’s shooting was largely propped up by Andrew Rowsey’s 6-for-13 outing from long distance. He made his only two point shot of the game and ended up with a personal eFG% of 71%. Not too shabby. Sam Hauser’s 3-of-5 from distance also helped out a ton. These two performances balanced out Luke Fischer woeful 4-of-13 performance, which really wasn’t even all that bad through the first 20 minutes. The MU big man missed all six of his shots in the second half, and you have to figure that had he even hit two shots, things might have been a bit easer for the Golden Eagles.
Marquette’s defense was even through both halves to provide a better than average performance, which is good news. In particular, they did a number on Josh Nebo (3-of-10) and Randall Gaskins (3-of-10), and Isaiah Blackmon’s 5-of-13 isn’t super, but he went 4-of-7 from long range to balance that out. At this point of the year, we have to just take anything that MU can assemble under 50% and just give it a thumbs up and move on.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 20.5% (This Season: 16.5%, #43)
St. Francis: 23.2% (This Season: 20.7%, #85)
As was the case with shooting, things shifted between good and bad at halftime for the Golden Eagles. However, it was a shift from bad to good, which is probably what allowed Marquette to get the W. Marquette turned it over on 24% of possessions in the first half, which is AMAZINGLY terrible. Four Golden Eagles coughed it up two times each, and you can’t help but wonder how much bigger than 11 the halftime lead could have been given how well the team was shooting.
The second half saw turnovers on just 17% of possessions, which is absolutely a winning type of basketball as you can see from the season average. We do have to point out that Jajuan Johnson was responsible for half of MU’s six giveaways in the frame, though, leading him to finish with five on the night. That’s very bad, and Marquette can’t afford to have a guy doing things as well as Johnson usually does end up throwing it away so much. He finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and four blocks, so can you imagine what it could have been without the turnovers?
MU’s defense was superb, especially in the second half. Forcing the Red Flash into a turnover on 27% of their possessions went a long way towards balancing out Marquette’s atrocious efforts shooting the ball. They can’t score if they don’t even have the ball, y’know? Keith Braxton was charged with five turnovers in the game, and two more players racked up three each.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 27.3% (This Season: 26.7%, #261)
St. Francis: 25.0% (This Season: 25.5%, #45)
This is pretty much exactly what Marquette does this season. I can shake my fist and howl about the lackluster performance on the offensive glass, but how upset can you get when 1) that’s what MU does and 2) it seems to clearly be intentional given how great the defensive rebounding is? The only real note to mention is that Marquette was much better at grabbing their misses in the first half when there were fewer misses to be grabbed.
When the opponent’s leader in offensive rebounds was “balls you knocked out of bounds,” you’re doing a lot of things right. Well, other than the “not securing those missed shots,” of course. Two players had two offensive rebounds, and that’s the extent of anything important to mention here.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 25.0% (This Season: 31.5%, #250)
St. Francis: 18.3% (This Season: 36.6%, #208)
With half of Marquette’s field goal attempts coming from behind the arc, you can’t expect them to end up shooting a lot of free throws. That pretty much explains the crummy FTR on offense.
The defensive rate is super, though, and Marquette could stand to see a few more performances like this. If you ignore the very bad performance against Wisconsin which was slightly inflated due to late game fouling, Marquette’s defensive FTR has slowly been getting better and better all season, culminating in this, their best performance of the season to this point. All you can really ask for is to keep seeing numbers below 35%.