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: 52.5% (This Season: 57.3%, #13)
Georgetown: 50.0% (This Season: 49.6%, #163)
This was kind of a weird game, where both teams shot crazy bananas (both over 56%) in the first half, and then totally lost their touch (both below 47%) in the second half. The good news for Marquette fans is that the Golden Eagles won the shooting battle in both halves, leading to a game long victory as well. The bad news is that it was a down shooting night for Marquette, and to a certain extent, they were lucky to win the game while letting the Hoyas shoot 50%.
Markus Howard and Jajuan Johnson carried the offense, shooting 7-of-10 and 8-of-15 respectively. Howard was particularly ridiculous, going 5-of-6 from behind the arc. Those two balanced out bad nights from both Sam Hauser and Haanif Cheatham, both of whom went 1-of-6. If you want to find a silver lining to the game, Hauser’s one made basket was a triple that gave Marquette their biggest lead of the game with 7:36 left to play. He might have struggled all game long, but you can’t beat providing what might have been the backbreaker.
Marquette essentially had no answer for Rodney Pryor, who was 9-of-18 overall and 4-of-9 from behind the arc. That’s a personal eFG% of 61%. The rest of the team’s eFG% was just 45%, largely because L.J. Peak was just 1-of-8 before leaving with an injury and Jessie Govan was 5-of-13. On one hand, Marquette did a good defensive job in this game in the non-Pryor department. On the other hand, Pryor was shooting 51% from long distance before the game, so any Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street could have identified him as a major point of emphasis and Marquette was unable to stop him.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 17.4% (This Season: 16.6%, #47)
Georgetown: 22.4% (This Season: 20.8%, #79)
Everything about this is perfectly wonderful.
Even the one thing that you could find to quibble about can be wiped away. Jajuan Johnson had three turnovers all by himself, but the senior guard also grabbed four steals and dished five assists. If I have to trade a few turnovers for a top 400 assist rate and a top 20 steal rate from Johnson, SO BE IT. Markus Howard and Haanif Cheatham were the only other guys with more than one turnover, and I’m not worried about those two guys. Cheatham’s cut his turnover rate in half from last season, and Howard’s nowhere near the turnover machine that Cheatham was as a freshman, so that’s fine.
We talked about how Marquette was unable to do anything to stop Rodney Pryor from shooting it well, which is absolutely true. However, they also forced the grad transfer from Robert Morris into four turnovers in the game, and he’s usually a very surehanded player. I guess it’s possible that Marquette actually did a good job limiting Pryor’s shooting when you take his giveaways into account. MU also forced Jagan Mosely into three turnovers, and two more guys coughed it up twice.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 28.6% (This Season: 26.9%, #255)
Georgetown: 36.4% (This Season: 26.3%, #63)
It’s more than obvious at this point that Marquette is intentionally abandoning offensive rebounding. This year’s iteration of MU basketball under the guidance of Steve Wojciechowski is the worst offensive rebounding team of Wojo’s three teams, believe it or not. When you account for MU’s drastic improvement in defensive rebounding since last season, Marquette getting slightly worse at offensive rebounding is either a massive failure by the coaches and players or an intentional scheme. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take Option B.
(Side note: Duke has almost always been a good OR% team under Mike Krzyzewski, so this is a choice that Wojciechowski is making on his own with the roster that he has.)
The point of all of this is that when Marquette has anything better than their season average when it comes to OR%, I’m going to give the effort a gold star and just move on. I will point out that Luke Fischer had half of MU’s offensive rebounds all on his own, and Sam Hauser was the only other player that registered any offensive boards at all, so that means that the scorekeeper was giving Fischer credit for all of those tipouts as a rebound. That’s very generous of them.
Jessie Govan was a beast for the Hoyas on the offensive glass, racking up four rebounds with two in each half. Rodney Pryor and Marcus Derrickson both came up with two, and that’s how you end up putting a beating on a team that normally does an excellent job on the defensive glass.
Both OR% numbers are probably in line with what you could expect from a game against Georgetown. The Hoyas are a good offensive rebounding team, so while that was a strength vs strength battle, Georgetown came away with a win. They’re an awful defensive rebounding team, though, which allowed the Golden Eagles to be better than their season average.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 28.8% (This Season: 31.3%, #254)
Georgetown: 18.6% (This Season: 35.2%, #175)
Outside of two weird spikes in free throws against Wisconsin and SIUE (and the UW spike was partially because MU committed a ton of game extending fouls late), Marquette’s defensive FTR is improving this season. I don’t just mean that the average is slowly going down, I mean that Marquette’s game by game numbers are improving.
This is fantastic news, as keeping opponents off the line was something that MU did very well last season.
Marquette’s a jump shooting team this year, and when 39% of your shots are behind the arc, you’re going to struggle to get to the free throw line. Oh well. The real tragedy here is that Marquette is the second best free throw shooting team in the country at 81.4%, trailing only Notre Dame. It’d be really fun if we could get Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, and Katin Reinhardt (all over 92%) to get more attempts from the line, but as long as the team keeps shooting 40% from the three point line (16th best in the country), we don’t have to really worry about the free throw rate.