Returning minutes, and the caveat

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Big fan of returning minutes. Huge. So big I probably give too much weight to teams in my preseason Top 25s from the last two Aprils. A prime example? Ranking Michigan and Minnesota entering the 2009-10 season because both returned a ton of minutes from the previous season.

That didn’t really work out.

Al Goldis/AP

Meanwhile, I underestimated a team like Syracuse because it lost a ton of minutes from its 2008-09 team – then improved dramatically.

The lesson? Don’t write off a team’s incoming talent. Don’t overestimate it either (North Carolina!), but don’t make returning minutes the No. 1 factor.

There. With that long-winded intro out of the way, allow me to talk up this table from UMHoops’s Dylan Burkhardt, which looks at the returning minutes for Big Ten teams in 2010-11.

Title contenders Michigan State (83.26 percent) and Purdue (71.72 percent) are set up nicely, while things look bleak for Minnesota (58.56 percent) and Michigan (46.12 percent). Both have a ton of minutes to fill.

Illinois has the best situation. Not only do the Illini return nearly 92 percent of its minutes, they also have a killer recruiting class coming in. New talent + players from a 21-15 squad should help Illinois make a run at the Big Ten title.

Theoretically.

(H/T: Eammon Brennan)

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.