March 16, 2013
Marquette’s Recent Efficiency
After reading through Cracked Sidewalk’s Deconstructing the Season So Far article which commented on Marquette’s recent trends in actual offensive and defensive efficiencies, we decided to take a quick look at Marquette’s adjusted efficiencies (adjusted based on opponents’ Adj OE & DE).
The resulting visual of adjusted efficiencies doesn’t appear quite as ugly as the unadjusted chart:
Five-game moving averages – Actual efficiencies [source: CrackedSidewalks.com]
Five-game moving averages – Adjusted Efficiencies
CrackedSidewalks (“CS”) makes some points about individual factors and their related concerns. The commentary is good and valid, but we’ll throw out some additional food for thought.
♦ The last 5 games included 3 against tough competition (Syracuse; Notre Dame twice) and the other two were on the road.
♦ Marquette’s eFG% hasn’t been consistently great (although the 64.9% eFG vs. Notre Dame in Milwaukee was a Big East season best), but it’s been solid. Their worst performance in the past 11 games was at St. John’s. While not a good team overall, the kids from Queens are very good defensively and have the nation’s top shot blocker (block %) in Chris Obekpa. MU made 22/45 2FG for 48.9% despite being blocked 11 times, including 7 alone courtesy of Obekpa.
♦ Turnovers are ugly, there’s no denying that.
♦ CS notes that the OR% differential has narrowed recently and that, “since the Villanova game, defensive rebounding has been worse and worse and now no longer masks the turnover deficiencies.”
While that’s how the 5-game trend calculates out, the reality is that Marquette’s DR% has improved sequentially in its past 4 games (Opponent’s OR% starting 5 games ago to most recent: 45.5%, 43.6%, 40.0%, 36.2%, 31.6%). It’s worth noting that the 45.5% belongs to Syracuse, one of the best OR% teams in the nation.
♦ Finally, a subject we don’t like to give much time to because it’s so far down on the list of factors important to winning a basketball game: Free throws. CS comments that they are “leaving out FTR, because it’s irrelevant (repeat after me: FTR is irrelevant).” Normally, we’d love this comment and often make similar statements.
However, getting to the line may be more important for Marquette than it is for their peers.
Marquette’s 2012-13 record when their free throw rate is better/same/worse than the other team:
|MU’s FTR is…||Win – Loss|
In terms of correlation of FTR to OE, for all Big East teams combined excluding MU the average is +.005 over the last two seasons. The Warriors sit above +.040.
Free throws aren’t a big deal at the end of the day. However, for a team like Marquette that isn’t a dominant squad, the FTR differential can become more of a factor in games than it might for others.
This team earned its 14-4 conference record, but it’s still a bit surprising/impressive that they were able to do it. Despite an ugly turnover rate in conference, MU’s offense still had the Big East’s top efficiency. Were eFG% and OR% more important than FTR? Absolutely. But to call FTR irrelevant to this Marquette team is something we can’t quite do.
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Some cut & pasted data is included below, should anyone want it. Adj OE, Adj DE for each Big East game is shown, as is the 5 game differential and the specific, one game differential.
|Adj OE||Adj DE||5G avg Diff||Game Diff|