Early look: returning minutes in the Big East

(edited to reflect recent transfers of George Goode and Devin Hill)

Just like last year, when Wes Johnson, Luke Harangody, and Dominique Jones left their respective squads, the behemoth that is Big East basketball is in for more change and new stars. Gone is the Kemba that carried some young Husky pups to a championship. Gone are the Coreys in Philadelphia. Gone is the Red Storm's whole basketball team.

Fall renewal is just around the corner; but June is the month when incoming freshmen and junior college players head to campus for summer classes and workout sessions.

Which means this is a fine time to take a long look at returning minutes to get a sense of how the league will change, and which teams have the most questions to answer between now and the first tip-off in the fall.

Our friends at Casual Hoya have taken a pass through the league in their Previews and Predictions section with their post-deadline look at returning minutes for each Big East squad. It was great work, and we here at the Rumble will build on that a bit in the coming weeks, talking about what gaps each Big East basketball squad has to fill.

Below, a look at returning minutes/ points/ total rebounds for the league as a whole in table form and a handy bar chart.

Note:  I put this together with returning minutes/ points/ total rebounds. I left out returning assists, steals, and blocks to keep it simpler and not crush you with numbers.

Numbers crunched in this post come from Sports Reference's (College Basketball), Statsheet, and Kenpom.

Click the graphic of Returning Minutes in the Big East to embiggen.

Beretmins11-12_medium

You can tell a bit about the question marks on a team by the difference in returning minutes to the other categories (see table below). For example, Syracuse returns about the same amount of minutes and points, but far fewer rebounds. That indicates that the Orange lost an excellent rebounder, and they did - Rick Jackson.

Or note how South Florida lost a lot of minutes, but far fewer points. They lost some serious non-scoring players (Anthony Crater, in particular) who spent a lot of time on the floor for the Bulls but made little impact on the box score.

Rutgers loses a lot, but has a lot of experienced rebounders. And so forth.

Big East
2011-12
Team
Ret. Minutes
Rank, Min
Ret. Points
Ret. Rebounds
Cincinnati
59.2%
8
65.9%
58.0%
Connecticut
61.8%
7
53.4%
66.7%
Depaul
72.6%
2
79.8%
76.0%
Georgetown
54.1%
11
44.7%
58.0%
Louisville
71.5%
3
65.7%
71.1%
Marquette
62.3%
6
62.0%
63.1%
Notre Dame
54.4%
10
49.5%
51.7%
Pittsburgh
57.3%
9
58.4%
51.2%
Providence
64.4%
5
55.4%
65.1%
Rutgers
47.9%
14
47.2%
60.9%
Seton Hall
47.9%
13
46.1%
50.8%
South Florida
69.3%
4
77.0%
74.4%
St. John's
5.0%
16
3.9%
2.6%
Syracuse
82.3%
1
82.1%
69.2%
Villanova
52.5%
12
46.8%
60.5%
West Virginia
39.3%
15
44.6%
42.0%

Syracuse, DePaul, and  Louisville return a lot of the same players. For the Orange and the Cardinals, that talent, along with the players coming in as freshmen, could mean huge years for both programs. And DePaul, returning a number of freshmen who (unlike some of their teammates) would be legitimate Big East players on other teams, might not be as bad as most fans think they are.

Meanwhile, West Virginia and all three New York area schools (Rutgers, St. John's, and Seton Hall) will look markedly different next season. For better? For worse?

Note: Now, as a predictor, returning minutes is not a be-all and end-all predictive measure.

While it's assumed that stability and looking at this year and the past two seasons and what percentage of minutes teams returned... the returning minutes don't seem to change the quality of the league. The quality of the minutes - and the talent in the recruiting class - are a big deal. More on that, Wednesday.

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