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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: vs Seton Hall

What a weird compilation of ways to win and/or make a game competitive.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Marquette 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 on a national level on KenPom.com.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Marquette: 54.8% (This Season: 56.3%, #17)

Seton Hall: 45.8% (This Season: 51.2%, #219)

If you can assemble this kind of offensive and defensive output on a regular basis, you’re going to win a lot of basketball games. You can see that this was close enough to what MU does on offense on a regular basis, which was already great. It’s also much better than their usual somewhat awful defense, so you can only imagine where that kind of defense on the regular would rank as a full season number. (SPOILER ALERT: It’d be top 40.)

The most impressive part about Marquette’s defensive effort is that they still accomplished that number with Desi Rodriguez going 10-for-21 and 4-of-9 from long range. That’s an individual eFG% of 57%, and without Rodriguez’s numbers, the rest of the Pirates posted an eFG% of just 41%. Angel Delgado was awful at 3-for-12, as was Myles Powell who took 10 shots in just 15 minutes and ended up missing eight of them.

On the offensive side of things, Marquette got a ridiculous night from freshman Markus Howard, who finished with an eFG% of 59%. Haanif Cheatham, who kind of looked rough in places, had a very good 5-of-10 outing, and Luke Fischer had a great game as well, making six of his eight shots, including a 4-of-5 effort after halftime.

The one thing that is slightly troubling for Marquette is that things completely flipped around after halftime. MU outshot SHU 63% to 32% in the first half, but in the second half, the Pirates had a 57% to 47% advantage. While Delgado was bad if you take a full game perspective, the fact of the matter is that he was 3-of-6 in the second half as Seton Hall wiped out Marquette’s five point lead and forced overtime. You probably couldn’t expect either first half number to continue after halftime, but that dramatic of a shift, especially on defense, is not going to work out in the long run.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 15.3% (This Season: 17.0%, #63)

Seton Hall: 24.0% (This Season: 21.2%, #55)

Again, if you can assemble this kind of offensive and defensive output on a regular basis, you’re going to win a lot of basketball games.

The key here was that Marquette committed just three turnovers in the second half and overtime. That went a long way towards keeping the Golden Eagles in the game while the Pirates were outshooting them in the second half. Of course, this means you have to ask the question why Marquette committed a turnover on 25% of their possessions in the first half. It probably won’t be a surprise to you to find out that six of Marquette’s nine first half turnovers came after the Golden Eagles took a 22-8 lead with 9:20 left before halftime.

Both teams actually cleaned things up after halftime in terms of ball control. Seton Hall turned it over 30% of the time in the first half, but just 17% in the second half. Marquette dropped their rate to a miniscule 6% after halftime, which helped combat the improved shooting by the Pirates.

Six of Seton Hall’s 19 turnovers came out of the hands of Khadeen Carrington, so that is an excellent job forcing SHU’s star guard into problems. Their big man had problems, too, as MU forced Angel Delgado into four turnovers. Jajuan Johnson matched Delgado with a team high four giveaways for Marquette, but no one else had more than two. Quietly unnoticed amongst everything else he was doing? Markus Howard played 42 of 45 minutes in this game and committed absolutely zero turnovers.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 27.0% (This Season: 28.6%, #211)

Seton Hall: 54.0% (This Season: 29.5%, #169)

If you assemble this kind of offensive and defensive output on a regular basis, you’re going to lose a lot of basketball games. This was awful.

Marquette’s offensive rebounding is what it is this season. Yes, they’re the second best offensive OR% team in the Big East this season, but 1) that’s buoyed by a stupid 49% against Villanova and 2) Marquette’s pretty much been right on their season average in the other three league games. The offensive rebounding was pretty much held up by Luke Fischer (4) and Sam Hauser (3), but Matt Heldt and Katin Reinhardt both grabbed crucial offensive boards for their only contributions of the game. Reinhardt’s came with 51 seconds left in regulation and Marquette leading by five. It led to two made freebies by Duane Wilson and most of the time, God willing, a 7 point lead with 41 seconds left should be enough to win in regulation. Heldt’s came with 1:17 left in overtime as he wrapped up a missed three by Reinhardt with Marquette up just one. He split his FTs, but when you win by three in overtime, you don’t look gift points in the mouth, either.

Then there’s what Seton Hall did on the glass. We talked about this before both games against the Pirates and after the first game against them: They’re a really good offensive rebounding team, ranking #21 in the country at the moment. But their season long average is just 37%, and MU just let them go to town in this game. Grabbing 49% of their misses kept SHU afloat in the first half amongst all their missed shots and all of their turnovers, and when they started making more shots in the second half, they actually grabbed up a higher percentage of the misses at 57%. Honestly, how did Marquette win this game with Seton Hall getting that many second chances?

Even if Angel Delgado didn’t get six defensive rebounds, he still would have had a double-double on the night, because he got THIRTEEN offensive rebounds. BY HIMSELF. Nine of them - NINE came after halftime.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 44.4% (This Season: 30.5%, #285)

Seton Hall: 47.9% (This Season: 35.7%, #192)

YAY FREE THROWS and also BOO FREE THROWS.

These numbers are kind of elevated by the two teams combining to shoot 16 free throws in overtime. Without the abundance of extra shots, the two numbers drop to 34% for Marquette and 40% for Seton Hall. That’s a little bit higher than the season averages on both ends, but it’s certainly much more in line with what we’ve been accustomed to seeing from Marquette.

Marquette’s free throws were kind of spread all across the team, but it was Haanif Cheatham who led the way with 11 attempts, connecting on seven of them. MU was handing out engraved invitations to the free throw line for Angel Delgado (14 attempts, eight makes) and Desi Rodriguez (10 attempts, six makes). This was the second highest defensive FTR of the season, trailing only the 52.7% that Wisconsin compiled in the Bradley Center in early December.