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Marquette Basketball Four Factors: at DePaul Blue Demons

You take the good, you take the bad, and there you have a win at the Rosemont Horizon.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at DePaul
That’s gotta be a foul.
Dennis Wierzbicki-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: 71.2% (This Season: 57.7%, #6)
DePaul: 53.2% (This Season: 51.8%, #236)

Ok, the good news first: Katin Reinhardt, Markus Howard, and Andrew Rowsey were RIDICULOUS in this game, combining to shoot 65% from the floor and post a combined eFG% of 89%. That is BONKERS. Rowsey and Reinhardt spread their shooting out across both halves, while Howard primarily did his damage in the first half. This led to Marquette shooting roughly the same eFG% in both halves, breaking the 70% plateau before and after halftime. Luke Fischer was also great with a 6-of-8 day from the field and Matt Heldt not missing either of his two shots was pretty good, too.

And now the bad news. Marquette’s defense sucked sour frog ass. With DePaul shooting 53% on two pointers alone, the Golden Eagles caught a massive break that the Blue Demons “only” shot 36% from behind the arc. I say “only” because that is somehow actually a better number than Marquette usually gives up (37.8% on the season, one of the 50 worst three-point percentage defenses in the country), but also much better than the 33% that DePaul usually throws up. Tre’Darius McCallum was carving Marquette, finishing with a personal eFG% of 71% thanks to splashing four of his seven long range attempts. Hell, JOE HANEL had a field day against Marquette, connecting on five of his seven shots, and this is a guy who was averaging fewer than three attempts per game coming in.

To put it another way: Marquette needed an all-world offensive effort in order to pull out a 13 point victory over the worst team in the conference. Blech.

Turnover Rate (TO%)

Marquette: 16.4% (This Season: 16.9%, #59)
DePaul: 10.4% (This Season: 18.8%, #167)

See above re: the defense was atrocious. In a scene bordering on reminiscent of Butler’s zero turnover second half against Marquette, the Blue Demons had just three turnovers in the second half, coughing it up on just 9% of their possessions. It’s not like Marquette’s was tearing them apart in the first half, either, as the TO% was a still awful 12%. Billy Garrett and Eli Cain turned it over twice each, with both of Garrett’s coming in the first half.

Marquette’s ball security on offense was ever so slightly better than their season average, and that average is pretty good in the first place. If MU isn’t going to defend shooters well and they’re not going to force turnovers, then they can’t afford to be kicking the ball all over the gym like they did against St. John’s earlier in the week. Props to them for putting that mess behind them, I suppose.

Offensive Rebounding Rate (OR%)

Marquette: 24.0% (This Season: 28.5%, #209)
DePaul: 25.7% (This Season: 29.3%, #166)

No one had a particularly good day on the offensive glass, although part of the reason why DePaul was hanging around in the second half is because they grabbed up 35% of their misses after the break. Joe Hanel and Brandon Cyrus had three offensive rebounds each to qualify as the game high, but those counted as two-thirds of DePaul’s total for the game. Luke Fischer (seven) and Haanif Cheatham (six) both did an excellent job on the defensive glass, so at least we can say that Marquette did a quality job across 40 minutes of ending defensive possessions after just one shot.

On the other end of the court, Tre’Darius McCallum was again a force that Marquette could not control, as he wrapped up seven of Marquette’s misses. Man, that guy did a number on the Golden Eagles: 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a block, two steals, no turnovers. About the only flaw in his game was four fouls, but he played the full 40 minutes and only got that last one with 33 seconds left.

Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Marquette: 40.4% (This Season: 32.2%, #263)
DePaul: 24.2% (This Season: 35.2%, #168)

Credit where credit is due: Andrew Rowsey (five attempts), Jajuan Johnson (five), and Haanif Cheatham (seven) all did a masterful job at getting to the line in this game and the only miss on their attempts came when Cheatham didn’t drain the back end of a pair with 33 seconds left to play. Marquette is the seventh best free throw shooting team in the country, so it’s a great thing when they’re managing to mix up the offense enough to get to the line instead of relying on jump shots. As we all know, you should never foul a jump shooter, and that’s why MU’s season average is so low.

It’s also nice to see Marquette minimize their exposure to points from the free throw line on defense when almost everything else was going very badly for them. FTR has a small bearing on the outcome of the game relative to the other three Factors, but at this point, we have to take every favorable defensive item that we can get.