San Diego State has more experienced team than Alabama basketball. Why Nate Oats isn't worried

LOUISVILLE — A look at San Diego State's rotation will reveal a bunch of upperclassmen but no underclassmen.

The Aztecs have a veteran group. According to KenPom, they use nine players on 12% or more of possessions, and seven are seniors. Two are juniors.

Overall, San Diego State players have an average of 2.96 years of Division I experience, per KenPom.

On the flipside, Alabama basketball started three freshmen for most of the season and has players with an average of 1.54 years of Division I experience.

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That's a drastic difference, but Alabama coach Nate Oats doesn't seem concerned. South Regional No. 1 seed Alabama will face No. 5 seed San Diego State in the Sweet 16 on Friday (5:30 p.m. CT, TBS) at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.

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"We don't have near the experience they have, which with most groups, I think, that would worry you," Oats said Thursday. "I think this group has shown how much maturity we have. And the fact that we're young doesn't mean that we're immature. Just means guys haven't played as many games, and they're a little bit younger."


Oats mentioned to his team early Thursday the NBA drafts plenty of young players who start early in their careers and end up being good.

"I think you guys have been mature, and this lack of experience people are talking about, I'm not worried about it because you guys have shown how mature and prepared you can get," Oats said he told his team. "Age doesn't necessarily matter. It's more what your mindset is, how focused you are, how mature you are when you walk in."

Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney have been staples in the lineup all season as first-year players. Miller won SEC player of the year and Clowney was named to the All-SEC freshman team. Jaden Bradley, also a member of the All-SEC freshman team, was a starter for a good portion of the season, too.

Five of Alabama's top seven by minutes played this season are underclassmen.


Two guards, Mark Sears and Jahvon Quinerly, are the only two upperclassmen in that top seven.

So far, the lack of experience hasn't been a problem for Alabama. Oats doesn't expect that to change Friday.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama, Nate Oats not worried about Sweet 16 experience disadvantage