The population of men’s Division I college basketball rosters as a whole in 2022 may be older than it’s been at any time since first-year students were granted athletic eligibility in the 1970s. If this is indeed the case, the geriatric shift has been brought about by allowances in eligibility granted in response to the pandemic.
Indeed, it’s possible we already started seeing the consequences of this demographic adjustment last year. With the benefit of hindsight, Baylor looked pretty old last spring even for a national champion in the one-and-done era not named “Duke” or “Kentucky.”
The pandemic may have expanded our definition of “old”
National champions, average age weighted by minutes (AAWM)
AAWM 2012 Kentucky 19.7 2013 Louisville 21.7 2014 UConn 21.7 2015 Duke 20.1 2016 Villanova 21.1 2017 North Carolina 21.6 2018 Villanova 21.2 2019 Virginia 21.4 2021 Baylor 22.3 Age on March 1 of title season
Poor Gonzaga. The Bulldogs arrived at the 2021 title game sporting a very late-2010s-looking AAWM of 21.0, doubtless thinking it was business as usual in the world of college basketball actuarial tables.Continue reading