Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Senior starters

Thought I'd take a look at the converse of the Badgers' reluctance to start freshmen -- what is the frequency of senior starters? While UW has had 11 freshmen who were primary starters in the last 26 years, it has had 49 senior starters, according to the team's record book. That's an average of 1.8 a year.

2008 2
2007 3
2006 1
2005 4
2004 2
2003 2
2002 2
2001 4
2000 1
1999 2
1998 2
1997 1
1996 1
1995 3
1994 1
1993 1
1992 1
1991 4
1990 1
1989 2
1988 0
1987 3
1986 2
1985 2
1984 0
1983 0
1982 2

You can't read as much into this as you can into the lack of freshman starters. The only real correlation I see comes in Bo's years: 2006, in which Ray Nixon was the only senior starter, was the Badgers' worst year under Bo (it's all relative, of course: 19 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament). Also, the 2005 team, with four senior starters, overachieved in the Big Dance, advancing to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champ North Carolina.

The 2002, 2003, and 2008 Big Ten championship teams all had just two senior starters. The 2000 team that went to the Final Four had just one, Jon Bryant; that same roster, the next year as seniors, was bounced in the first round by Georgia State. And the 1995 team, with three senior starters, was the most underachieving team in recent memory - no team with Michael Finley and Rashard Griffith should have a losing record.

Experience and leadership are important, but it doesn't necessarily have to come from seniors.


Edward said...

I still remember listening to Eastern Michigan beat that Finley, Griffin team by about 40, at Kronshage dorms, in shock. I hate to admit it, but I've had a grudge against Stan Van Gundy ever since. Which basketball coach did less with more?

Mr.Man said...

"Experience and leadership are important, but it doesn't necessarily have to come from seniors."
Exactly. Nixon was a senior, but had never started before, and didn't play that much until his junior year. Next year Krabby and Landry will be the only senior starters, but both have played tremendous minutes since stepping on campus (even excluding Landry's lost 2nd semester). By this point, Bohannon and Hughes are both quite experienced, probably more so than Nixon was going into his senior year. I don't know what will happen next season, but I have a hard time seeing anything but success with this seasoned group of four leading the way.

Scott Tappa said...

I remember listening to that Eastern Michigan game in the Sullivan dorms, in the room across the hall. Thought it was a fluke, that the Badgers just ran into a really hot team, but it wasn't a fluke.

Scott Tappa said...

The other low point that year for me was going to the Marquette game at the Bradley Center, where we were just embarassed. I think Andy Kilbride was about 1-for-15 that game. That day also may have been the start of my antipathy toward MU.