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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: vs #20 Providence

Fun things happens when you do a good job holding onto the ball.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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 across the country on KenPom.com.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 44.2% (This Season: 51.3%, #110)
Providence: 46.5% (This Season: 46.4%, #46)

Ok, stick with me for a second here: This is actually a really great defensive performance by Marquette.  Why?  Well, Ben Bentil shot 6-13 on three pointers all by himself.  You'd think that kind of thing would tilt a whole game in favor of the Friars, but Bentil was 5-16 inside the arc while the other Friars shot just 5-18 on threes.  In addition to the overall great picture, I'm fine with letting Bentil go nuts behind the arc as a general game plan.  He came into the game shooting just 29% on threes on the season (on 77 attempts? The hell?) and an even worse 24% on 37 attempts in league action.

I'm trying to figure out what to make out of MU's offensive performance.  44% isn't any good, and it's way down from their season average.  But no one really had a bad day shooting the ball.  Duane Wilson went 1-6 to earn "worst" status, but he was just 0-2 on threes, so at least he wasn't letting fly when he didn't have it going.  Henry Ellenson's 10-22 isn't outstanding, but it's fine.  His 0-4 on threes wasn't, though.  Even things that were openly bad, namely shooting 23% on three pointers, were limited by the chances as MU shot just 13 threes in the game.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 14.5% (This Season: 20.6%, #308)
Providence: 20.1% (This Season: 19.5%, #102)

WHO WANTS A HUG??

Well, not Luke Fischer, I guess.  He had four of Marquette's 13 turnovers.  MU was a little ragged with the ball in the first half, kicking it away on just short of 20% of their possessions.  As you can tell, that went WAY down, as they committed just six turnovers in the ensuing 30 minutes of basketball, including just two in the two extra sessions.  I feel like this game was a perfect example of what Marquette has been capable of all season if they just do a slightly better job of holding on to the basketball.

MU continued their great job of defending Kris Dunn, as the All-American point guard committed another four turnovers here, giving him 11 on the year against Marquette and 20 in four games against teams coached by Steve Wojciechowski.  The biggest play of the game might have actually been a Kris Dunn turnover that wasn't actually charged to Dunn.  With two seconds left and the game tied, Dunn got trapped up a bit by Marquette's 2-3 zone and dished to Jalen Lindsey.... except the pass was high and went whistling through Lindsey's hands.  Officially, that's Lindsey's turnover, but it was largely Dunn's fault.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 38.0% (This Season: 29.8%, #177)
Providence: 33.3% (This Season: 31.6%, #253)

Remember what I said about what Marquette would look like when they keep track of the ball?  Yeah, well, rebounding kind of counts as "keeping track of the ball," and this was a hell of a job to balance out the slightly bad shooting.  Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer both grabbed four offensive boards, and Jajuan Johnson and Haanif Cheatham wrapped up another three.  That's a hell of a job, and it paid off with 23 second chance points.

The defensive rebounding, though, that was kind of bad, and MU was already kind of bad at that.  MU's raw totals benefit from the extra 10 minutes as Ellenson had 12 defensive boards and Fisher had six before fouling out.  Jalen Lindsey was shredding Marquette on the offensive glass with four grabs, and Ben Bentil had three of his 12 rebounds on that end.  Ultimately, I'm having a hard time getting too bent out of shape about this because MU actually won the OR% battle, but that's not necessarily going to happen every time.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 47.4% (This Season: 39.4%, #113)
Providence: 43.1% (This Season: 26.9%, #16)

Overtime games are fun.  Because of the short time frames involved, sometimes the Four Factors get a little skewed, especially FTR given the increased chances that someone starts fouling.  Thus, I look at Marquette's 167% FTR from the second overtime and laugh my butt off.  Marquette attempted 10 free throws against six field goals to get there.

Marquette's 31 free throw attempts were spread out across the team pretty well.  Providence went to the line 31 times in this game, but 17 of those tries came from the hands of Ben Bentil.  I'm not entirely sure how a dude that shot 13 three pointers ended up shooting that many free throws (although three of them were on a 3point attempt foul by Ellenson late in the first overtime), and I'm REALLY not sure why Marquette was so insistent on fouling a guy who shoots over 80% on freebies.