March Madness 2023: The Oldest and Most Experienced Field in NCAA Tournament History Ever
As the years roll on, NCAA tournament teams are gaining more experience than ever before. In this article, we’ll delve into the numbers and reasons behind this intriguing trend. According to Ken Pomeroy of KenPom.com, this year’s NCAA tournament boasts the oldest and most experienced teams in recorded history, possibly even the most seasoned lineup in the history of the tournament.
Most Experienced NCAA Tournament Field Ever
Let’s take a look at the statistics. This year, NCAA tournament teams have players with an average of 2.29 years of playing experience. That’s a significant increase from 1.98 years in 2022 and 1.87 years in 2021. Moreover, these experienced teams are performing exceptionally well compared to the average.
NCAA tournament? More like YMCA tournament. Of the top 30 teams in experience, 16 made the field (and 31 of the top 73). Only 1 of the bottom 40 made it. By far the oldest tournament in recorded history (and likely, ever) pic.twitter.com/3vUiIt1thU
— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) March 15, 2023
Interestingly, only one of the bottom 40 teams in terms of experience made the tournament. That would be Arizona, the #2 seed, which is also one of the favorites to win the NCAA tournament with top US sportsbooks.
Despite their relative inexperience, with an average of just 0.52 years experience, this Arizona team has demonstrated exceptional talent and resilience to overcome what many would consider a significant disadvantage.
Their success can be attributed to a combination of factors, including excellent coaching, strong teamwork, and the raw talent of their young players. Arizona’s ability to compete at the highest level, even with less experienced players, is a testament to the program’s strength and the potential of its rising stars.
Their performance in the tournament will be a compelling case study in the ongoing debate over the importance of experience versus raw talent in college basketball.
Over Half of the Top-30 Most Experienced Teams Make March Madness
In contrast, 16 of the 30 most experienced teams have found their way into the field. This observation suggests that having more experience may provide a competitive advantage when it comes to qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
Teams with seasoned players tend to have greater knowledge, maturity, and understanding of the game, which can translate into improved on-court performance and a higher likelihood of making it to March Madness.
The most seasoned team in the tournament is Texas Southern, with an average of 2.81 years of experience. Their roster comprises six seniors, four graduate students, three juniors, one sophomore, and three freshmen.
So, what’s behind this surge in experience? One key factor is the extra year of eligibility granted to players due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the transfer portal has made it more likely for players to remain in school and continue playing college basketball.
As the tournament unfolds, it will be fascinating to see whether youth or experience prevails. In our opinion, this unprecedented level of experience could give seasoned teams a competitive edge, allowing them to navigate high-pressure situations with more poise and composure.
However, youthful teams should not be underestimated, as their raw talent and energy could be equally impactful. With such a unique blend of experience and youth, this year’s NCAA Tournament promises to be more thrilling than ever before.
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