I took a look at how experience plays into success in ACC play. Click through for my observations..
KenPom started tracking experience stats in the 2006-2007 season. For those of you who don't know how this stat is measured, let me explain. Each full year a player has played is given one year of experience. So a sophomore has one year of experience up to a senior who has three. Then, the ratio of minutes played per years of experienced is calculated. So a team with an experience level of 3.0 plays only seniors and so on down to a team on 0.0 which plays only freshmen.
How much does experience mean in the ACC in terms of team success? Since the measure was implemented, I tracked total ACC regular season wins and measured it against experience level. The following charts show each season (with the current season up to date as of games completed on February 9). It shows ACC finish (standings according to espn), ACC rank of experience level (national rank) and the experience measurement. Take a minute to browse through the charts.
|2006-2007 Season||Experience Rank||Experience Measure|
|First||North Carolina||11th (329)||0.87|
|Fourth||Virginia Tech||First (72)||2.09|
|Fifth||Boston College||5th (168)||1.78|
|Seventh||Georgia Tech||9th (313)||1.09|
|Ninth||Florida State||3rd (151)||1.82|
|Tenth||North Carolina State||8th (289)||1.26|
|Eleventh||Wake Forest||10th (321)||0.99|
|Twelfth||Miami (FL)||7th (275)||1.33|
|First||North Carolina||6th (205)||1.58|
|Fourth||Virginia Tech||11th (319)||1.02|
|Fifth||Miami (FL)||3rd (117)||1.82|
|Seventh||Florida State||First (39)||2.16|
|Eighth||Wake Forest||12th (331)||0.81|
|Ninth||Georgia Tech||2nd (109)||1.86|
|Eleventh||North Carolina State||8th (286)||1.3|
|Twelfth||Boston College||10th (297)||1.21|
|First||North Carolina||2nd (60)||2.05|
|Third||Wake Forest||9th (280)||1.3|
|Fourth||Florida State||11th (294)||1.25|
|Sixth||Boston College||10th (292)||1.26|
|Eighth||Miami (FL)||First (19)||2.3|
|Ninth||Virginia Tech||7th (224)||1.5|
|Tenth||North Carolina State||3rd (110)||1.87|
|Twelfth||Georgia Tech||8th (245)||1.44|
|Third||Wake Forest||3rd (123)||1.86|
|Fourth||Virginia Tech||7th (217)||1.57|
|Sixth||Florida State||11th (299)||1.31|
|Seventh||Georgia Tech||12th (301)||1.28|
|Ninth||Boston College||4th (140)||1.82|
|Tenth||North Carolina||10th (290)||1.33|
|Eleventh||Miami (FL)||6th (214)||1.58|
|Twelfth||North Carolina State||9th (275)||1.4|
So with the exception of this year, there is little correlation between experience and ACC success. The highest that the most experienced team has finished is 4th. We did see UNC's experience pay off last season as it ended in a national title.
Let's now look at the total wins in ACC play by each team in this study and their average experience level for each season.
|As of February 9, 2010|
|Total Wins||Average experience|
|North Carolina State||17||1.46||T-8th|
We see very little correlation in terms of experience. Maryland has finished with the third most wins but look at Miami way down in 11th place in terms of wins. Experience did not help them very much in ACC play. Wake Forest has put up a very good showing of ACC wins despite having the 11th lowest experience level out of ACC teams.
In this day and age, experience is often a non-factor in terms of regular season success. Most of the success is driven by freshmen and sophomores on the path to the NBA. This is evidenced in the chart above as many teams have had success despite lower levels of experience.
However, there is some correlation between experience and tournament success. While less experienced teams may have more regular season success, they sometimes fall apart in the postseason. The last 3 title teams had experience levels of 2.05 (60), 2.10 (50) and 1.97 (103). So while it may have little correlation in the regular season, there is a small relationship between experience levels and title runs.
I can't say I am that surprised by the results due to the nature of college basketball today where the best players leave their mark on a team and bolt for the NBA. What I have seen in title contenders is a mixture of upperclassmen and impact freshmen.
It will be interesting to see how the standings end up this season. Right now, we see for the first time that experience is playing a role in ACC success. Will this stay the same throughout the season or will things be mixed up a little?
What do you see from these results? Anything pop out at you or surprise you?