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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: vs #1 Villanova

Jeff Hanisch-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: 58.7% (This Season: 51.7%, #99)
Villanova: 64.4% (This Season: 47.0%, #52)

If you want to beat the #1 team in the country, you can not - CAN NOT - give up your worst defensive eFG% of the season.  Yep, that's right, Villanova actually shot the ball better than Iowa, with the Hawkeyes assembling a 63.6% performance waaaay back in November.  The Wildcats didn't even have a particularly great three point shooting day, going 7-17 (41%) on the day.  Kris Jenkins went off, shooting 4-9 on threes but just 1-3 elsewhere.  Daniel Ochefu was 6-10 inside the arc, Jalen Brunson was 4-6, Josh Hart was a perfect 6-6, and Mikal Bridges was a perfect 3-3.

The crazy part about that is Marquette has been a very good shooting defense team this season!  And Villanova just blew their doors off.  Thank goodness that MU was able to (kind of) match them on offense, or at the very least, had an excellent shooting day.  The Golden Eagles were 7-19 from long range and a 7-7 day from Jajuan Johnson inside the arc worked wonders for Marquette.  Wally Ellenson was spectacular off the bench, burying two of three long balls in just 19 minutes of action.  Imagine what could have happened in this game if Duane Wilson hadn't gone 1-8.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 22.1% (This Season: 20.6%, #313)
Villanova: 21.6% (This Season: 19.5%, #88)

What a weird game.  Both teams shot it incredibly well, and they both kicked it all over the gym.  Both teams were really bad in the first half (24%/25%) and then better in the second half.  Sadly, Villanova (18%) got much better than Marquette did (21%), and that edge on turnovers did not help Marquette's chances at a comeback.

Kris Jenkins and Phil Booth were the focal points of the Marquette defense, with both men turning it over four times each.  That's kind of surprising, given that MU usually does a number on the opposing point guards.  Ryan Arcidiacono and Jalen Brunson only had three turnovers, with Brunson carrying two of the miscues.  On Marquette's side of the offense, Traci Carter (5) and Jajuan Johnson (4) were the biggest issues.  It's hard to get upset at either guy, though.  Johnson had 19 points on 8-10 shooting, plus two assists, a block and five steals, while Carter had seven points, four rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals.  It's not like these guys were just hucking the ball out of bounds whenever they touched it.  They were lugging a lot of the offensive load for MU and along the way, they had a problem or two.  It happens.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 13.8% (This Season: 28.7%, #212)
Villanova: 9.1% (This Season: 30.5%, #219)

Remember the home game against Creighton where I declared that it might have been the worst offensive rebounding game ever and asked anyone to find a game with both teams with an OR% under 16%?

WELL, I FOUND IT.

This game was actually WORSE than that Creighton game, as both teams were worse than the 13.5% OR% that Creighton posted in that game.  Now, it's kind of understandable that neither team was interested in grabbing their misses since there were so few of them.  The two teams combined for just six misses in the entire game, and no player grabbed more than one offensive rebound.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 48.1% (This Season: 38.8%, #117)
Villanova: 48.1% (This Season: 27.2%, #19)

The Villanova FTR in this game was inflated by the Wildcats shooting 10 free throws in the final two minutes of the game as Marquette attempted to extend the contest.  Through the first 38 minutes of the game, Marquette allowed an FTR of just 28.8%, which is actually great.

Marquette had a great day getting to the line, with Henry Ellenson earning 10 trips to the line to lead the team.  Unfortunately, they may have let the game slip away at the line, as they only made 65% (11-17) of their freebie attempts after halftime.  FTR doesn't worry about the accuracy of the shots, though, so we have to tip our caps to the effort to get to the line.