In bygone eras of college basketball, seniors were the superstars. The players who had endured a wait behind more experienced players to finally become starters and/or major contributors. The young men who were being rewarded for their loyalty to their school and program with extensive minutes.
These days, seniors are often relics, the doddering old men who simply weren't good enough to go pro after two or three seasons, let alone one.
But the 2013-14 campaign gave us the final ride of stars like Doug McDermott, Russ Smith, Shabazz Napier, Sean Kilpatrick and Cleanthony Early, all of whom were consensus All-American picks. By contrast, a freshman class expected to be the greatest ever produced only two All-Americans—top NBA draft picks Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
This season, there are still plenty of teams that will ride or die with experienced talent. Some will even be near the top of many analysts' first top 25 ballots come October. These 15 programs will need strong production from their veterans to contend for their conference titles, and some even have eyes on bigger prizes.
They aren't necessarily the best senior classes in the country, but they're the most essential to their teams' chances of making waves in March.
While the young draw the headlines, some college basketball programs are still fertile country for old men.