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: 44.9% (This Season: 51.2%, #110)
Seton Hall: 55.2% (This Season: 45.7%, #34)
As the clock turned over to the 10:27 mark of the second half, Seton Hall had a three point lead and had just missed two shots to drop their eFG% for the game down to 45.8%. The Pirates had gotten their second offensive rebound of the possession, and Isaiah Whitehead banged home a three pointer to make it a six point game. This was Seton Hall's third made three pointer of the game, moving them to 3 for 13 from long range in the game.
Following Whitehead's shot, Seton Hall's next four shots were made three pointers. Including Whitehead's shot, SHU's eFG% for the final 10:30 of the game was 100%. 8 for 10 with four threes made. They effectively did not miss for the rest of the game, and that's how you go from down three with 10:30 to play to losing by 17. To put it into different terms: Seton Hall scored 1.96 points per possession for the final 11 minutes of the game.
Through three quarters of the game, Marquette's defense was exactly what it had been all season long. And then Seton Hall stopped missing for 10 minutes, and Marquette lost. Of course, it also doesn't help that MU couldn't hit the broad side of a barn themselves in this game. Remember when after the Butler game, I said that Marquette wasn't going to shoot like that for another nine games in a row? Well, may I present to you exhibit A.
Henry Ellenson: 3 of 9, 1-4 on threes. Haanif Cheatham: 2 of 9. Sandy Cohen: 0 for three, including airballing a layup. Yeah, that's how you lose a game, even with Luke Fischer shooting 8-16 and Jajuan Johnson continuing his hot streak at 5 for 8. Even Traci Carter had a nice game, going 3-6 and a perfectly acceptable 1 of 3 on long balls.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 21.8% (This Season: 20.7%, #304)
Seton Hall: 19.0% (This Season: 19.8%, #84)
I expected this to be much worse, to be honest. Then again, a 1.1 point increase from the average in TO% is a monumental increase, as a 1.1 point decrease on the season long number would have Marquette ranked in the 250s on KenPom. Not good, mind you, but still a significant jump upwards. Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer were the biggest problems for Marquette, coughing it up three times each. I'd say, "hey, upside, none of Ellenson's turnovers were offensive fouls!" except that I'm pretty sure three of them were traveling calls, which is arguably worse.
The defense was good. Credit where credit is due. Traci Carter accounted for five of Seton Hall's turnovers all by himself with his steals, and when you combine that with his three assists, you can forgive him for his two turnovers in the game. You'd like to say "Hey, they did a number on Isaiah Whitehead by making him cough it up five times in this one!" but, uh, 21/6/8/3/2 means no one can claim to have played excellent defense on Whitehead.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 30.8% (This Season: 29.2%, #199)
Seton Hall: 40.6% (This Season: 31.7%, #261)
Seton Hall was already a good offensive rebounding team, and they took advantage of Marquette being a bad rebounding team to do even better than their season average of 36%. This sucks, and the worst part about it is that SHU did this with pretty much just two guys on the offensive glass. Angel Delgado had five grabs and Desi Rodriguez had four. That's nine of their 13. Rodriguez got all of his in the first half, while Delgado waited until after the break to reel in three of his rebounds. Ismael Sanogo covered for Rodriguez after intermission by wrapping up both of his offensive boards in that half.
MU was marginally better than usual on the offensive glass, so I guess we have to offer a meager thumbs up. Luke Fischer grabbed four of his six rebounds in the game on that end, and Haanif Cheatham had three of his four off of Marquette misses.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 23.7% (This Season: 38.9%, #125)
Seton Hall: 37.9% (This Season: 25.5%, #11)
And finally, Marquette drops out of the top 10 in defensive FTR. Womp womp. Just to give you an idea of how screwy the Big East refs have been when it comes to Marquette's defense this season, their defensive FTR in conference games is 33.9%.
One small item under this banner: After getting to the line 16 times against Butler, Henry Ellenson attempted just four free throws in this game. I hesitate to declare this something inherently wrong with the way Ellenson played against Seton Hall, as he seemed to be in a running dialogue with the refereeing crew as to how they were officiating Seton Hall's defense.