Gmtm Logo
SIGN UP
Gmtm Logo

College Basketball: Why Experience Still Matters For Division-I Teams

ByBryan Armetta

4 min read

College Basketball: Why Experience Still Matters For Division-I Teams

College basketball's history is filled with teams that had to overcome adversity on the road to a title. Winning, at minimum, six games en route to a championship will test a group in ways they might not have even imagined. Having reliable, experienced players can guide a roster through the most precarious of situations, often acting as second or third coaches on the floor.

But why does experience still matter in today's age of one-and-done prospects? There are notable exceptions to the rule, such as 2012 Kentucky and 2015 Duke, but for the most part, today's more player-friendly era still correlates wins to staying in school. What makes battle-tested leadership so important, and has college basketball's current climate make upperclassmen less valuable?

Guard Play

A constantly repeated m0tto come March is that veteran point guards lead to success in the NCAA Tournament. When assessing the past ten champions, it's a good assumption to make. With the exception of 2012 Kentucky, 2015 Duke, and 2018 Villanova, every tourney winner has had two upperclassmen as their starting guards. The last six Most Outstanding Players of the tournament were all upperclassmen guards, and it's no surprise that it took nearly all of them years to grow into their role as lead distributors and reliable scorers.

We see dominant teams 'beat themselves' all the time in the postseason. A major contributor? Turnovers. Having a savvy ball handler that can dribble in and out of traffic while making smart decisions goes a long way against elite competition. Today, the same applies to giving opposing offenses open shots. Any squad that values perimeter defense, like Baylor in 2021, has a better shot at winning close games.

Underdogs Need Upperclassmen

It's easier for the Kentuckys and Dukes of the CBB world to reload with a new class of five-star talent. That can't be said for most non-major conference programs, where playing as a unit often (but not always) takes precedent over one player. Along with previously mentioned experience at guard, returning roster production is crucial for scrappy mid-majors if they want to take down a goliath.

Of the 26 teams that pulled off a significant upset (#13 seed or lower) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament since 2008, 18 have returned more than 60

of their total scoring output from the previous season. 16 have returned over 60
of their total minutes. It's no secret that playing with the same group over a period of time builds chemistry, a major boost for coaches attempting to implement a system. Last year's Saint Peter's run to the Elite Eight was unprecedented, but the numbers state that they had a better shot than most underdogs to make an extended run in the postseason; of the post-'08 Cinderellas, the Peacocks were first in returning scoring and second in returning minutes.

More Important Than Ever

With players shuffling in and out of rosters ever since the arrival of the transfer portal prior to the 2018-19 season, it's hard to find any cohesiveness in college basketball. That places even more precedent on coaching staffs to try and keep groups together; playing together for more than a year is an increasingly rare commodity. While power programs are able to take part in what is essentially free agency, the sport's changing landscape offers a new path to contention for smaller schools. On rosters with little to no future NBA talent, players have less incentive to leave in order to boost their brand. The end result could be a growing gap between who has upperclassmen playing major minutes.

The arrival of the transfer portal may have actually helped smaller schools, at least when it comes to keeping a core together. Since 2019, amongst mid-majors responsible for a significant postseason upset, the average percentage of returning minutes sits at 70.4, with average returning scoring production just above it at 73.5. Both those averages are about ten percent higher than figures from the previous decade. Even average roster experience has seen a small, but not insignificant, rise. Greener pastures don't look quite so promising when your role could be in jeopardy as soon as the next offseason.

If lesser-known programs are to stay relevant in today's era, they might want to take a page from college basketball history. Rosters that mature and grow together stand a better chance at staying competitive, all while acting as a potential safe haven for players that might get ignored by top conferences or lost in the shuffle of the transfer portal. When looking through sleeper picks next March, keep an eye out for the double-digit seed with a senior at point guard, or the mid-major that retained 70

of last season's scoring. You might not see them play in the NBA, but college basketball's veterans are as reliable as they come.

Are you an Athlete?

Create a free profile to access the largest network specifically designed to connect athletes to opportunities. Get started.

RELATED ARTICLES
Why The Transfer Portal Is So Important For College Basketball Coaches

Why The Transfer Portal Is So Important For College Basketball Coaches

2019 was a transformative year in NCAA athletics. The NCAA Transfer Portal, a database which allows...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sun Dec 11 2022
Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

Getting ranked - it’s the ultimate goal and source of motivation for many basketball players across...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Dec 04 2022
How similar is the NCAA Transfer Portal to free agency in professional sports?

How similar is the NCAA Transfer Portal to free agency in professional sports?

The NCAA Transfer Portal is a great platform that is beneficial to student-athletes. It allows...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Dec 02 2022
"What Is A 5-Star Recruit?": Explaining how high school basketball prospect rankings work

"What Is A 5-Star Recruit?": Explaining how high school basketball prospect rankings work

High School basketball players like Bronny James are all over TV and social media nowadays, with...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Dec 01 2022
Five Ways To Boost Your Basketball Recruiting with Social Media

Five Ways To Boost Your Basketball Recruiting with Social Media

Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, GMTM, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook... Social media is a...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sat Nov 19 2022
Important Beach Volleyball Terminology to Know Before You Watch

Important Beach Volleyball Terminology to Know Before You Watch

Beach volleyball [gmtm.com/articles/tag/beach-volleyball] is a fun and exciting sport for the...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Nov 04 2022
What are College Football’s New Overtime Rules?

What are College Football’s New Overtime Rules?

In the 21st century, major sports have had to walk an interesting tightrope. They’ve had to balance...

ByAndrew Pistone | Mon Oct 24 2022
Transfer Portal: Does Every Athlete Who Transfers Find A New College To Play For?

Transfer Portal: Does Every Athlete Who Transfers Find A New College To Play For?

On the 15th of October, 2018 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) introduced a...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Oct 19 2022
How To Run Faster: Five Best Strength Training Workouts For Track Athletes

How To Run Faster: Five Best Strength Training Workouts For Track Athletes

In order to be successful in track, athletes should devote a considerable amount of time to lifting...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Oct 05 2022
College Basketball: Midnight Madness and the start of the CBB schedule

College Basketball: Midnight Madness and the start of the CBB schedule

Many college basketball fans think that the season gets underway in earnest around Thanksgiving,...

ByAndrew Pistone | Fri Sep 30 2022
College Football's "Dead Money": Why Fired Coaches Keep Getting Paid

College Football's "Dead Money": Why Fired Coaches Keep Getting Paid

We’re at the point in the college football calendar where teams are assessing whether they’d like...

ByAndrew Pistone | Wed Sep 28 2022
What Does Redshirt Mean? And The Reasons Why Players Do It?

What Does Redshirt Mean? And The Reasons Why Players Do It?

Any athlete with a love for competition hates sitting on the sideline, but once he or she gets to...

ByCorey Roepken | Mon Sep 19 2022
How Continued Legalization of Sports Betting Affects College Sports

How Continued Legalization of Sports Betting Affects College Sports

In recent years the taboo of sports betting has started to come down and gambling on your favorite...

ByJamison White | Sun Sep 18 2022
College Basketball: What Is The NCAA Transfer Portal And How Does It Work

College Basketball: What Is The NCAA Transfer Portal And How Does It Work

With the ever-changing NCAA and college athletics scene, transfer athletes have become more and...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 15 2022
2022 College Football Cheat Sheet: Who Will Finish On Top In The Big Ten

2022 College Football Cheat Sheet: Who Will Finish On Top In The Big Ten

It's not the flashiest conference, nor is it the most talented, but Big Ten football offers...

ByBryan Armetta | Mon Sep 05 2022
College Football: Are Spencer Rattler and South Carolina SEC East Contenders?

College Football: Are Spencer Rattler and South Carolina SEC East Contenders?

Competing in the SEC is not for everybody. Lost in the shuffle of the annual arms race between...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Sep 04 2022
How UConn Has Dominated Women’s College Basketball

How UConn Has Dominated Women’s College Basketball

Women’s College Basketball and UConn are two terms that you will often hear together as they have...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 01 2022
Basketball Recruiting: Four Ways To Improve Your Chances Of Getting A Scholarship

Basketball Recruiting: Four Ways To Improve Your Chances Of Getting A Scholarship

College basketball recruiting is structured in a time-sensitive and fast-paced manner:...

ByScotty Jenkins | Mon Aug 29 2022
College Football: Three Transfer Portal Players to Watch in 2022

College Football: Three Transfer Portal Players to Watch in 2022

It's not even four years old, but it's hard to even remember what college football was like before...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Aug 28 2022
Five Ways To Gain A College Basketball Coach’s Attention in the First Correspondence

Five Ways To Gain A College Basketball Coach’s Attention in the First Correspondence

Whether by writing a letter or sending an e-mail, reaching out to a college basketball coach for...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Thu Aug 25 2022
A Few Reasons Why Americans Are So Obsessed With College Sports

A Few Reasons Why Americans Are So Obsessed With College Sports

Of all the interesting traditions Americans have, few are more difficult for a foreign audience to...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Aug 23 2022
Can Group NIL Deals Help Create Earning Potential Balance?

Can Group NIL Deals Help Create Earning Potential Balance?

The landmark decision to allow student athletes in college to profit off of their name, image and...

ByAndrew Pistone | Mon Aug 22 2022
Four Things Recruiting Highlights Don't Show College Basketball Coaches

Four Things Recruiting Highlights Don't Show College Basketball Coaches

You clipped together the perfect highlight tape: the half-court buzzer beater, the flashy handles,...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Fri Aug 19 2022
How Athletes From Other Sports Have Benefitted From The Transfer Portal

How Athletes From Other Sports Have Benefitted From The Transfer Portal

The Transfer Portal has always been a part of Collegiate Athletics. However, the ways that it has...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Aug 17 2022
Four Ways College Basketball Coaches Will Show Interest In Recruits

Four Ways College Basketball Coaches Will Show Interest In Recruits

Postcards from sunny, resort locations such as the Bahamas or Hawaii. Pictures of the team smiling...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sun Aug 14 2022
Name, Image, & Likeness: Duke, Kentucky remain popular destinations for college basketball recruits

Name, Image, & Likeness: Duke, Kentucky remain popular destinations for college basketball recruits

The name, image, and likeness of college athletes has been a topic of discussion for several years,...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Aug 02 2022
Basketball Recruiting: Do the top high school teams get more attention from college coaches?

Basketball Recruiting: Do the top high school teams get more attention from college coaches?

If you are a basketball fan, player, or coach, you’ve often heard about or have watched some of the...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Fri Jul 22 2022
College Basketball Scholarships: Four Unknown Truths Every Recruit Should Know

College Basketball Scholarships: Four Unknown Truths Every Recruit Should Know

For many people in the basketball community, a college basketball scholarship is held in the...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Wed Jul 20 2022
Soccer Coaching: What is each position in soccer responsible for?

Soccer Coaching: What is each position in soccer responsible for?

A proper soccer team will function at an optimal level when players in the team's setup understand...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sat Jul 16 2022
Volleyball: Four Steps For Defensive Player To Improve Your Digging

Volleyball: Four Steps For Defensive Player To Improve Your Digging

Whether you live to hit the floor or find you find yourself feeling uneasy as a big hitter on the...

ByRebekah Morris | Sat Jul 16 2022
Distracting Game Film? Here are six types of videographers to avoid during your biggest games

Distracting Game Film? Here are six types of videographers to avoid during your biggest games

If you desire to get recruited to play college basketball, it’s paramount that you record games,...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Jul 15 2022
College Visit: Three Ways To Determine If a Basketball Coach Is The Right Fit

College Visit: Three Ways To Determine If a Basketball Coach Is The Right Fit

The atmosphere is electric: bands playing trendy music, a packed arena or stadium full of screaming...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Thu Jun 30 2022
Field Hockey: What Is It And How To Start Playing

Field Hockey: What Is It And How To Start Playing

Field Hockey is a sport that combines ice hockey with soccer to create an exciting and intense...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Jun 26 2022
Three Retired NBA Superstars Who Were Cut From Their High School Teams

Three Retired NBA Superstars Who Were Cut From Their High School Teams

It’s easy for fans to look at the current version of their favorite NBA players and think “they...

ByAndrew Pistone | Tue Jun 21 2022
Is USC Football Finally Back? Recapping Lincoln Riley's First Spring As Trojans Head Coach

Is USC Football Finally Back? Recapping Lincoln Riley's First Spring As Trojans Head Coach

We hear about 'culture changes' in college football all the time; one-season turnarounds ushered in...

ByBryan Armetta | Fri Jun 17 2022
Recruiting: Why does Division-I Basketball have the most teams of any sport?

Recruiting: Why does Division-I Basketball have the most teams of any sport?

Athletes looking to move onto a DI college or university have the best chance if they play...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Jun 15 2022
How To Transfer Schools As A College Volleyball Athlete

How To Transfer Schools As A College Volleyball Athlete

Whether you got recruited to your dream school or took your only offer, sometimes a transfer can be...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Jun 14 2022
College Basketball: Why Experience Still Matters For Division-I Teams

College Basketball: Why Experience Still Matters For Division-I Teams

College basketball's history is filled with teams that had to overcome adversity on the road to a...

ByBryan Armetta | Mon Jun 13 2022
College Basketball: Three Top Programs That Could Miss the NCAA Tournament

College Basketball: Three Top Programs That Could Miss the NCAA Tournament

Anyone who enjoys college basketball understands this is the closest one can get to sheer chaos in...

ByBryan Armetta | Mon Jun 13 2022
Women's Basketball: Meet The Michael Jordan Of The Women's Game

Women's Basketball: Meet The Michael Jordan Of The Women's Game

Although there are many modern day women trying to replace the OG Michael Jordan of women’s...

ByScotty Jenkins | Mon Jun 13 2022
College Basketball: Three Biggest Coaching Hires of the Offseason

College Basketball: Three Biggest Coaching Hires of the Offseason

Once upon a time, long before the transfer portal and NIL deals, college basketball offseasons were...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Jun 12 2022
2022 College Football Conference Preview: Who The Favorites Are In The SEC

2022 College Football Conference Preview: Who The Favorites Are In The SEC

S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C! It's a chant embraced by the South and universally reviled everywhere else....

ByBryan Armetta | Thu Jun 09 2022
How Does a Walk-On Program Work for a Typical College Basketball Program?

How Does a Walk-On Program Work for a Typical College Basketball Program?

Everyone can picture the scene on Signing Day for ascending high school seniors who have been...

ByAndrew Pistone | Tue May 10 2022
How Would Video Review Work In College Softball?

How Would Video Review Work In College Softball?

“Whatever it takes to get the call right”. That’s usually the initial sentiment about video replay...

ByAndrew Pistone | Wed May 04 2022
Men's Basketball: How Shaheen Holloway and St. Peter's Can Stay Relevant After March Madness

Men's Basketball: How Shaheen Holloway and St. Peter's Can Stay Relevant After March Madness

Saint Peter's historic run was full of dramatic moments and unexpected surprises. All except one:...

ByBryan Armetta | Thu Apr 21 2022
Men's Basketball: Eric Musselman and Arkansas Are Speeding Ahead of the SEC

Men's Basketball: Eric Musselman and Arkansas Are Speeding Ahead of the SEC

Moments after Arkansas took down top overall seed Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament, head coach Eric...

ByBryan Armetta | Wed Apr 20 2022
How to Perform a Free Kick  Like The Pros: Step By Step Guide

How to Perform a Free Kick Like The Pros: Step By Step Guide

Scoring a free kick or utilizing it effectively can be the deciding factor in who wins a match. So...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Apr 19 2022
Men's College Basketball: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most From NIL Ruling

Men's College Basketball: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most From NIL Ruling

In the aftermath of a July ruling by the NCAA allowing for athletes to profit off of their name,...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Apr 17 2022
Men's Basketball: How Bill Self and Kansas Stole Another National Championship

Men's Basketball: How Bill Self and Kansas Stole Another National Championship

There were plenty of flashy picks for college basketball fans to choose from when filling out their...

ByBryan Armetta | Thu Apr 07 2022
March Madness: Who's to blame for Gonzaga basketball's early exit?

March Madness: Who's to blame for Gonzaga basketball's early exit?

In a stunning turn of events, top overall seed Gonzaga was bounced from the NCAA Tournament on...

ByBryan Armetta | Mon Mar 28 2022