It used to be that experience was a vital component to winning at the highest level, especially in the postseason. Having been there before was always a major factor in a team's ascension to the top in college basketball. Most coaches relied upon juniors and seniors, and freshmen had to wait their turn and serve an apprenticeship to their older teammates.
Seniors set the tone and the agenda. Freshmen carried the bags, kept their mouths shut and learned. The special freshmen could crack the starting lineup, and the truly special first-year players could crack an all-conference team, but all-star-caliber players were rare.