Talent vs. experience. That's the eternal question. Do you want a roster of experienced players or a team full of talented, young ballers?
OK, you want both. That's easy. And if you can't have experienced, talented players, you want a mix.
But when it's crunch time in late March, what kind of player is on the floor? The most talented bunch or a group you can trust to make the right decision because they've been there before?
(And yes, keep it simple. Myriad factors such as coach also apply. Let's just focus on the players.)
Take Kansas for example.
The Jayhawks return all five starters and nearly every key reserve from last year's 27-8 squad. They'll likely be the No. 1 team when the season starts. But, according to a column from the Lawrence Journal-World's Tom Keegan, they're not as experienced as you'd think. They lack minutes.
|Why's Robbie Hummel so happy? Because Purdue enters this season with more experienced players than nearly any other team.
KU will enter the season with only 3 players who have logged more than 1,000 career minutes: Sherron Collins (2,884), Cole Aldrich (1,367) and Brady Morningstar (1,153). Collins and Aldrich are among the nation's best players. But the supporting cast, comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, is still learning.
As a team, Kansas has 8,906 total minutes on the roster. The 2008 champs entered their title season with 11,871 minutes. North Carolina's 2009 title team had 14,265 to enter the season. Were those minutes the difference between a Final Four season and a title season? Possibly. Couldn't hurt (nor did the NBA talent. Both teams featured at least 4 NBA players).
Keegan also has totals for some other title contenders.
Purdue (11,990 minutes) ranks highest among popular top-five picks, Bob Huggins' West Virginia team (10,311) led by Da'Sean Butler (3,131) is worth watching, and Michigan State checks in just ahead of KU with 9,082 minutes.
Kentucky, with its incoming freshmen talent, actually boasts a decent minutes total (7,086), with two players over 2,000 minutes in Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson. But the Wildcats' key players will be those freshmen. How John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins et al fare is the biggest question mark.
The last few champs – UNC, Kansas, Florida – all had experienced rosters and rarely relied on freshmen. Kentucky's talented freshmen are working against a recent trend to cut down the nets.
Talent? Experience? Better have both.