Does experience necessarily translate into wins for Syracuse basketball?

Battle was injured in SU's win over Toledo
Battle is just a sophomore

Does experience necessarily translate into wins? The Orange will come into this season as one of the most inexperienced teams in the ACC. Second to last, to be exact.

But does that necessarily matter? I went back through some of SU’s recent seasons to see if its experience translated into a higher win share. I randomly selected three other seasons from the last 10 years to see if I could come to any conclusions.

First, I started with this year’s team:

Player Years Experience
Frank Howard 3
Matthew Moyer 1
Paschal Chukwu 3
Tyus Battle 2
Howard Washington 1
Oshae Brissett 1
Geno Thorpe 4
Bourama Sidibe 1
Average Experience 2

Let’s now try the 2014-15 team:

Player Years Experience
Michael Gbinije 3
BJ Johnson 2
Ron Patterson 2
Chris McCullough 1
Trevor Cooney 3
Kaleb Joseph 1
Tyler Roberson 2
Rakeem Christmas 4
Dajuan Coleman 3
Chinonso Obokoh 2
Average Experience 2.2

That team finished 18-13 overall, giving it a multiplier of 8.18 wins per year of experience.

» Related: With departure of Taurean Thompson, will Syracuse basketball use three-guard offense?

The next time I looked at was the 2012-13 team:

Player Years Experience
Michael Carter-Williams 2
Jerami Grant 1
CJ Fair 3
Trevor Cooney 2
Baye Moussa Keita 3
Brandon Triche 4
Rakeem Christmas 2
DaJuan Coleman 1
James Southerland 4
Average Experience 2.4

The 2012-13 team won 30 games on the way to the Final Four, giving it a multiplier of 12.5 wins per year of experience. Michael Gbinije is not listed on this roster since he took a redshirt that year.

The last time among the bunch will be the 2007-08 team, exactly 10 years ago.

Player Years Experience
Rick Jackson 1
Donte Greene 1
Jonny Flynn 1
Paul Harris 2
Kristof Ongenaet 3
Arinze Onuaku 3
Scoop Jardine 1
Eric Devendorf 3
Average Experience 1.8

This team is a bit of an oddball because two players are left off this chart completely: Andy Rautins (3) and Sean Williams (1). If you remember, Williams redshirted, while Rautins tore his ACL before the start of the season. Devendorf also suffered a season ending ACL injury, though he did appear in enough of the non-conference schedule where I put him on this chart.

That team won 21 games, giving it an 11.6 multiplier per year of experience.

This is an inexact science, but if you average the three multipliers together, you get a 10.78 multiplier per year of experience, which would give Syracuse 21 wins this season.

So the answer to the question seems to be, yes, experience does count for something. That MCW-led Final Four team had the highest multiplier and also went the furthest of the three teams pulled from the sample.

But plenty of other factors come to play here that aren’t accounted for, including difficulty of schedule. The Orange played in the Big East for two of the three seasons listed. The bottom of the current ACC is still far superior to the bottom of the ACC (DePaul?) at the time SU played in the Big East.

Also consider the relative experience of other teams. Perhaps the conference is in an overall down year with a talent drain to the NBA.

It’s something to think about as the Orange heads into the season with one of least experienced rosters in recent memory.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]