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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: at Butler

Let's be honest: None of what you're about to read is going to give you a warm fuzzy. Unless you're a Butler fan, I guess.

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: 52.9% (This Season: 52.1%, #71)
Butler: 63.2% (This Season: 47.9%, #87)

Don't you just hate it when a nice shooting day is completely pooped on by a bad defensive day?

It's the third time in the last eight games (and just the third time in Big East play) where Marquette has allowed their opponent to post an eFG% of over 60%.  If you want to dial that down to 59%, then it's the third straight game where the defense has let the other team go wild.  Marquette has still been a good defensive team as a whole this season, but they've been nearly three percentage points worse during league play.

Butler made their hay in the first half, shooting an eFG% of over 69% thanks to a 5-10 mark on three pointers.  Four Bulldogs combined to shoot 14-19, with Kellen Dunham's 5-8 being the "bad" option amongst those four.  On the other end, Marquette was decent in the first half (50%) and better in the second half (55%).  I could do without the 0-5 on long balls from Henry Ellenson and Traci Carter, but the shooting line that really sticks out is Haanif Cheatham going 0-6 with half of his shots coming from behind the three point arc.  Even after those misses, Cheatham is still a 41% three point shooter on the season, so it's weird to see him come up empty on three tries.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 20.2% (This Season: 20.3%, #303)
Butler: 15.5% (This Season: 19.2%, #108)

Given that the final margin was 21, I don't think Marquette having a rough go of it on the defensive end here really had any impact on the game.  Still, it was a subpar performance from MU's usual ability to force their opponents into errors.  They did do a good job on Butler's stars, with Roosevelt Jones and Kelan Martin coughing it up three times each.

Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer combined for seven of Marquette's 15 turnovers in this game, which, y'know, is not great.  It's actually really bad for Fischer, who was limited to just 19 minutes due to foul problems.  I would really like it if Marquette could assemble a few more games this season where they have a TO% under 20%.  I'm going to be very sad if they finish the year as a sub-300 TO% team.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 20.7% (This Season: 28.2%, #223)
Butler: 29.6% (This Season: 30.3%, #210)

*sigh*

You have to wonder how much of the offensive rebounding issue in this game for Marquette has to do with Luke Fischer's inability to stay on the court.  Remember, Fischer is a top 80 in the country individual OR% guy, and having to trot out a lineup with Wally Ellenson, Jajuan Johnson, or Sandy Cohen playing the four with Henry Ellenson playing the five is not going to be conducive to grabbing offensive misses.  It's also probably limiting Ellenson's efficiency on the offensive glass (top 500 indiv. OR%) to not have his running buddy out there with him.  With that said, Henry was the only Golden Eagle to have more than one offensive rebound in the game..... and Wally was the only other guy to grab one at all.

Marquette's defensive rebounding in the game was fine.  Given that Butler was shooting the cover off the ball, you could actually argue that it was bad, since I'm sure the Bulldogs' offensive rebounding effort started to wane at some point early in the second half.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 53.8% (This Season: 39.3%, #103)
Butler: 61.4% (This Season: 27.8%, #23)

These numbers are dumb.  I have nothing else to say.