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: 51.7% (This Season: 57.7%, #9)
Providence: 59.4% (This Season: 51.5%, #224)
For the third time in the last four games and for the fifth time in nine Big East games, Marquette allowed their opponent to shoot better than 55% in eFG%. Unsurprisingly, MU has won just one of those games, and it took a 70% offensive effort against a Creighton squad dealing with the loss of Maurice Watson to do it.
In a weird set of circumstances, I don’t actually think Marquette played bad defense overall in this game. They held Rodney Bullock, PC’s leading scorer coming in at nearly 18 points a game to just eight on 2-of-7 shooting, and Emmitt Holt had an awful day, going 4-of-12, and that was made worse by Holt finishing tied for the team high in shots. I mean, it’s good for Marquette to funnel the offense into Holt, but bad for the Friars. Where the Golden Eagles ran into issues was Kyron Cartwright and Jalen Lindsey. Cartwright finished the day shooting 7-for-12 on the day, and when you factor in making two of his three long range attempts, his eFG% is 67%. Even worse was what happened with Lindsey. He came into the game as a 47% three-point shooter, and the MU defense allowed him to make four of his five treys. That’s really bad defense, especially when you consider that shooting five threes is pretty much his season average. They had to know exactly what kind of shots Lindsey was going to be looking for, and he was able to knock down nearly every single one of them.
After having a ridiculous outing against the Wildcats, Katin Reinhardt regressed to the mean against the Friars. He was just 3-of-11 in the game and just 2-of-6 from behind the arc. The three-point shooting is fine, the two point shooting.... not so much. The images of his last two field goal attempts are going to be burned into the retinas of a lot of Marquette fans for a long, long time in particular, I’m afraid. Sam Hauser was also kind of bad, finishing with the same numbers as Reinhardt, except for one fewer field goal attempt. I’m probably being overly critical here, because 52% eFG% should probably be enough to win you a lot of basketball games. It just wasn’t enough for Marquette on this particular day.
Turnover Rate (TO%)
Marquette: 11.4% (This Season: 16.7%, #50)
Providence: 14.4% (This Season: 19.3%, #146)
Marquette managed to do a good job on defense in the first half, forcing a turnover on 23% of possessions. Had they managed the same thing in the second half, odds are that MU wins this game, perhaps even comfortably. See, Providence committed just two turnovers after the break, and none at all in the last 14 minutes, giving them a 6% TO% for the half. The only Friars that coughed it up more than once were Alpha Diallo and Kyron Cartwright, and both guys committed both of their turnovers in the first half.
I don’t really have much to say about Marquette’s offensive turnover rate. They had a few more give aways in the first half, but even that 14% rate is better than the already pretty darn good season average.
Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)
Marquette: 20.6% (This Season: 28.1%, #216)
Providence: 20.0% (This Season: 29.2%, #158)
I am trying to figure out how the hell Luke Fischer ended up with four offensive rebounds. No other Golden Eagle managed two, and Providence was led by two each from Rodney Bullock and Emmitt Holt. Neither team had a particular interest or ability to wrap up what few misses they had in the game, but there’s Fischer, acting like a vacuum on the offensive glass. Here’s the really goofy part: All four of Fischer’s ORebs came in the second half. Even goofier: all of them led to points: splitting a pair of free throws, a tip-in, two made free throws, and two free throws by Rowsey. Powered by Fischer’s output, MU grabbed up 38% of their missed shots in the second half and finished with a points per possession mark of 1.37. Imagine if they could have done any of this in the first half....
Free Throw Rate (FTR)
Marquette: 39.7% (This Season: 31.8%, #270)
Providence: 52.8% (This Season: 36.5%, #197)
If you remove Andrew Rowsey’s free throws from this, Marquette had an FTR of just 22%.
That’s how good the junior transfer was at baiting Providence defenders into the air and then getting the referees to declare that he was shooting while colliding with the now airborne defender.
While Rodney Bullock and Emmitt Holt had bad shooting days as discussed above, Marquette gave them free chances to score points by putting both men on the line seven times each. That accounts for half of PC’s free throw attempts in the game right there, and thus half of the quite awful defensive FTR number. MU kept putting Friars at the line equally in both halves, so it’s not like there was a particular thing they did differently to cause the problem. They did shoot six freebies in the final minute, but when they were right around 53% for both halves, that bonus didn’t really affect the math.