Thursday, March 9, 2023

10 Young NCAA Teams Could Stay Intact for 2025 March Madness

Pictures by John Pudner at Madison Square Garden March 9, 2023. LEFT - the last moment of the score being tied at 70-70 in overtime as Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek's shot prepares to go through the hoop for the game-winner. Right - Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Kam Jones box out in the war under the boards moments earlier in the overtime.

We know teams can no longer stay together for three or four seasons due to the transfer portal and new NCAA rules allowing players to earn money for the use of their names and likenesses or making endorsements, or accepting gifts from boosters. However, there are 10 teams projected to be in the NCAA tournament field of 68 who could keep the majority of their team together through 2025 - led by Marquette who plays only freshmen and sophmores so could have the same team in tact in 2025.

Tyler Kolek gave a great answer after the game when I asked him about being one of the youngest three teams of the 68 in the tournament, and you can read that story by clicking here. I based that on Ken Pomeroy's youth rankings and the teams projected to be in the tournament - however in researching I realized Pomeroy has changed his criteria and counts only years in Division I basketball as experience.

This means juniors and seniors with a couple of years of JUCO or Division II ball under their belts are treated as freshmen - which doesn't seem the best measure of experience. 

Instead we ran the numbers on what percent of a team's time on the floor are by players who could play another two years or more. If a player is a senior, junior or a one and done then they will not still be playing in two years.

The following are the results, with a link to the Basketball Reference page for players mentioned.

Marquette is not only the only team that could stay completely in tact for two more seasons, but the next youngest team in the tournament by this measure are Howard and Duke, who gets 68% of their time from freshman and sophomores who could be around for two more years. Obviously with the transfer portal and the big money going to players who end up with the Texas Longhorns or other huge programs will likely break up teams - but here are the stats of what is possible followed by the line-ups for each team. 

Back for 2 yrs   Back for 1   Youngest Team              Seed     Sr.       Jr.        1&done
58%68%Southeast Missouri St.1632%10%0%

Here is each team for youngest to 10th youngest. Each player's jersey number, class or if they are a one and done projected to go in the NBA draft, and then the percent of the time they are playing that position (e.g. Kolek plays point guard for Marquette 87% of the time, while David Joplin plays 19% as the small forward and 22% as the power forward).

1. Marquette                 Starters                                                    Back-ups                          
Point Guards11 Tyler Kolek, So, 0.8722 Sean Jones, Fr, 0.12
Shooting GuardsStevie Mitchell, So, 0.565 Chase Ross, Fr, 0.23
Small Forwards1 Kam Jones, So, 0.6823 David Joplin, So, 0.19
Power Forwards12 Olivier-Maxence Prosper, So, 0.7123 David Joplin, So, 0.22
Centers13 Oso Ighodaro, So, 0.7321 Ben Gold, Fr, 0.22

2. Duke                           Starters                                        Back-ups                              
Point Guards3 Jeremy Roach, Jr, 0.815 Tyrese Proctor, Fr, 0.14
Shooting Guards5 Tyrese Proctor, Fr, 0.6613 Jacob Grandison, Sr, 0.17
Small Forwards25 Mark Mitchell, Fr, 0.490 Dariq Whitehead, Fr, 0.34
Power Forwards30 Kyle Filipowski, 1&d, 0.4425 Mark Mitchell, Fr, 0.32
Centers1 Dereck Lively, Fr, 0.5615 Ryan Young, Sr, 0.21

3. Howard                      Starters                                        Back-ups                           
Point Guards3 Elijah Hawkins, So, 0.761 Khalil Robinson, Sr, 0.22
Shooting Guards0 Marcus Dockery, So, 0.6511 Ose Okojie, Fr, 0.16
Small Forwards5 Jelani Williams, Sr, 0.5434 Bryce Harris, So, 0.18
Power Forwards22 Shy Odom, Fr, 0.3534 Bryce Harris, So, 0.27
Centers24 Jordan Wood, Jr, 0.4412 Kobe Dickson, Sr, 0.41

Keep in mind Yale my not win the Ivy League to make the tournament. We went through the 68 teams projected to make the tournament as of March 9 in the morning.

4. Yale                       Starters                                     Back-ups                              
Point Guards2 Bez Mbeng, So, 0.5224 Yassine Gharram, So, 0.46
Shooting Guards3 August Mahoney, Jr, 0.72 Bez Mbeng, So, 0.19
Small Forwards4 John Poulakidas, So, 0.6913 Michael Feinberg, Sr, 0.15
Power Forwards35 Isaiah Kelly, Sr, 0.4533 Jack Molloy, So, 0.27
Centers15 EJ Jarvis, Sr, 0.681 Danny Wolf, Fr, 0.2

5. SE MO St.StartersBack-ups
Point Guards1 Phillip Russell, So, 0.893 Aquan Smart, So, 0.07
Shooting Guards0 Israel Barnes, Sr, 0.393 Aquan Smart, So, 0.34
Small ForwardsChris Harris, Sr, 0.560 Israel Barnes, Sr, 0.29
Power Forwards33 Dylan Branson, So, 0.53Chris Harris, Sr, 0.29
Centers14 Nate Johnson, Sr, 0.4721 Josh Earley, Jr, 0.46

6. CharlestonStartersBack-ups
Point Guards11 Ryan Larson, Sr, 0.721 Jaylon Scott, Sr, 0.26
Shooting Guards2 Reyne Smith, So, 0.6715 Pat Robinson, Sr, 0.24
Small Forwards3 Dalton Bolon, Sr, 0.3815 Pat Robinson, Sr, 0.28
Power Forwards25 Ben Burnham, So, 0.4121 Jaylon Scott, Sr, 0.34
Centers10 Ante Brzovic, So, 0.5935 Babacar Faye, So, 0.33

7. IllinoisStartersBack-ups
Point Guards0 Terrence Shannon, Sr, 0.523 Jayden Epps, Fr, 0.34
Shooting Guards20 Ty Rodgers, Fr, 0.371 Sencire Harris, Fr, 0.28
Small Forwards15 RJ Melendez, So, 0.3724 Matthew Mayer, Sr, 0.24
Power Forwards24 Matthew Mayer, Sr, 0.5533 Coleman Hawkins, Jr, 0.29
Centers33 Coleman Hawkins, Jr, 0.5842 Dain Dainja, So, 0.39

8. VCUStartersBack-ups
Point Guards1 Adrian Baldwin, Jr, 0.8523 Jayden Nunn, So, 0.12
Shooting Guards23 Jayden Nunn, So, 0.522 Zeb Jackson, Jr, 0.37
Small Forwards24 Nick Kern, So, 0.5335 David Shriver, Sr, 0.31
Power Forwards0 Jamir Watkins, So, 0.4430 Brandon Johns, Sr, 0.36
Centers4 Jalen DeLoach, So, 0.630 Brandon Johns, Sr, 0.34

9. CreightonStartersBack-ups
Point Guards2 Ryan Nembhard, So, 0.8523 Trey Alexander, So, 0.08
Shooting Guards23 Trey Alexander, So, 0.485 Francisco Farabello, Sr, 0.31
Small Forwards55 Baylor Scheierman, Sr, 0.6123 Trey Alexander, So, 0.26
Power Forwards24 Arthur Kaluma, 2&d, 0.5813 Mason Miller, Fr, 0.3
Centers11 Ryan Kalkbrenner, Jr, 0.7433 Fredrick King, Fr, 0.21

10. LouisianaStartersBack-ups
Point Guards0 Themus Fulks, So, 0.71Michael Thomas, So, 0.28
Shooting Guards5 Jalen Dalcourt, Sr, 0.522 Kentrell Garnett, So, 0.39
Small Forwards13 Greg Williams, Sr, 0.584 Kobe Julien, So, 0.28
Power Forwards1 Joe Charles, So, 0.5234 Terence Lewis, Sr, 0.46
Centers21 Jordan Brown, Jr, 0.8235 Isaiah Richards, So, 0.15

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