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: 40.5% (This Season: 52.0%, #81)
Xavier: 61.4% (This Season: 48.7%, #110)
A bad offense effort from the Golden Eagles here, as it got off to a horrifically terrible start. 37.5% eFG% in the first half as Marquette missed 11 of their first 17 shots. The Henry Ellenson bucket on that 17th shot made the score 22-15. It nicked down to five points briefly late in the half, but the misses just kept stacking up: They needed to make their final two shots on the half in order to finish by making two of their final 11 shots.
Meanwhile, Xavier made six of their 14 three point attempts in the first half, and that was essentially that.
Haanif Cheatham (5-13) and Jajuan Johnson (5-12) had rough days shooting the ball, but you have to realize that's an abberation for both men. They both shot over 52% on twos this season and nearly the exact same percentage (39%) on threes. With Xavier kind of keeping a handle on Henry Ellenson (just nine shot attempts in the game), that freed Luke Fischer up for 11 attempts in 27 minutes..... except he only made four of the shots. Again, a major abberation, as he's one of the 50 best eFG% shooters in the country, and he's doing that without attempting threes.
I know that Trevon Bluiett isn't going to make five of eight three point attempts every single night, but seeing that line made me pull up his page on Draft Express. #18.... amongst sophomores. #50..... in the 2017 draft. Dammit.
Reminder: Marquette finished the season by allowing their opponent to shoot an eFG% over 59% in five straight games. Which is bad.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 11.2% (This Season: 20.0%, #290)
Xavier: 12.9% (This Season: 19.1%, #112)
You know what? Marquette posted their season low in TO% to finish at exactly 20% on the season and stay out of the bottom 300. I don't care about anything else. In fact, they had a TO% under 20% in six of the last nine games. AWESOME. I'm moving on.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 26.8% (This Season: 28.1%, #229)
Xavier: 39.4% (This Season: 30.7%, #224)
Neither end was good for Marquette in this game. Both teams did a much better job in the second half than in the first, with Xavier taking the post-intermission advantage, 50% to 32%. Xavier's offensive rebounding was a team effort, with nine different players getting at least one and only three guys grabbing two. Marquette's effort was led by a ridiculous job by Luke Fischer, who hauled six of MU's 11 OReb in the game, four in the first half alone.
It's kind of weird to see Fischer swallow up all those misses. He ended up grabbing 16 offensive rebounds in three games against the Musketeers this season. This, against a Xavier squad that is in the top 50 in the country at limiting their opponents' access to their own misses.
While Fischer was really great in this game, he didn't really have a lot of help. Duane Wilson and Wally Ellenson both snapped up two of MU's misses, but that's it for the whole team. It was just the fourth time in Big East action that Henry Ellenson was held without an offensive rebound.
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 38.1% (This Season: 40.5%, #81)
Xavier: 24.2% (This Season: 28.0%, #26)
After peaking earlier in the season as the #1 team in the country in defensive FTR, Marquette wraps up their season ranked #26th in the country.
I'll take it.
Here's a wild thing to think about. Marquette finished the season ranked #340 in the country in free throw percentage defense, or, in other words, they allowed the 12th highest opponent FT% in the country. Obviously, there's not really much that Marquette can do about defending free throws, since it's an uncontested 15 footer. It just is what it is. However, how badly would MU's season have gone if they weren't the 26th best team in the country at keeping opponents off the line? What if they were even 50th best, which would still be pretty good? 50th place means another two and a half percentage points more worth of free throws for opponents. How many more points would have have meant across the length of the season? Three of Marquette's wins this season, and arguably their three best wins of the season (LSU, Wisconsin, at Providence) were decided by one possession. What if those teams had shot three more free throws in those games?