In the big games UNC only played 7 or 8 guys real minutes though…
Every team shortens their rotation in the tourney. They were still a kenpom top 10 team basically the whole year while playing 11, which seems to be what the OP was talking about with the “almost certainly not a top 10 team” comment. I mean they won the regular season ACC Title with an 11 man rotation. If we want to switch it to that, sure, I don’t think it really changes my point.
Although I’d say any minutes in the National Title game are “real minutes,” even if it’s a 3 minute shift by 7th Woods. They still played 9 there…
I guess my point is that out of all the things that I’d say “almost certainly prevent” someone being a top 10 team, rotation size would be way down on the list. In fact I’d say given the relative rarity of 10+ man rotations during a season it says something about a talented bench and ability to withstand possible injuries. I would go as far as saying teams that are capable of playing that deep of a bench during the season balance out with the teams who do it because everyone sucks to make it a non-factor in the end.
It’s a good example that a top team can do it that way. And it shows how a team would be in position to do it while excelling – by putting together top classes year after year without having a ton of one-and-dones. On the whole, though, I’d say that it’s more of a rarity, and even those teams tend to shorten the rotation in big games.
And more importantly for the conversation here, if Berry had torn his ACL late in the ACC season, UNC wasn’t winning the national championship even though they’d given Seventh Woods some minutes earlier on.
Don’t get me wrong, regarding the “aaahhhhhh play Johns or he’ll never develop!” thing going on above I’m very much on the side of “it has little chance of mattering.” I mean it would be nice for Johns to become a rotation player because it means Austin Davis is no longer one, but forcing him in there against Illinois isn’t gonna do it lol. I just think rotation size is relatively meaningless in determining how good a team will be unless it’s some extreme example like a major conference team with only 6 usable players somehow and no backup forwards.
Wonderful Athletic article from Quinn just spending a game watching Beilein. My favorite quote:
“Beilein, sitting motionless, watches a few defensive possessions go by. Luke Yaklich, meanwhile, sitting beside him, is writhing, living and dying, with every play. Brazdeikis whiffs on back-to-back assignments and Yaklich, the defensive specialist, can hardly stand it. Beilein doesn’t interject. He says nothing.”