With the college basketball season quickly approaching (less than three months until the CBE Classic!), I've been doing some work looking back on year, and forward to the upcoming season. In doing so, using data from Ken Pomeroy's website, I put together the following table, which shows, for each team that made the Sweet 16 last year, what percentage of their 06-07 total minutes played each team has returning for the 07-08 season.
This table doesn't capture the effects of incoming freshmen and transfers, but I think it can still be pretty informative.
Memphis, the top team here, also has the #3 freshman in the country, PG Derrick Rose. Memphis should breeze through C-USA again (they're 29-1 in conference games the last two years), and has a good shot at a #1 seed if they play well against a non-conference schedule that includes USC, Georgetown, Arizona, Gonzaga and Tennessee.
A Tennessee team that almost knocked off the Buckeyes in the Sweet Sixteen all their key players except Dane Bradshaw. They are without a
UCLA does lose SG Arron Afllalo, but everybody else is coming back, and their freshman class is highlighted by big man Kevin Love, who might be the missing piece for a team that lacked an inside presence last season.
At the other end of the spectrum are the two national finalists. This comes as no surprise, as it obviously takes very talented players to make it that far, and reaching the final game allows those players to get extensive exposure, thus raising their draft status.
Florida's position is similar to North Carolina's after they won the 2005 tournament. UNC lost their top six, and had only 12.4% of their total minutes returning. This didn't end up being that big of a problem for the Tar Heels, as, boosted by freshman Tyler Hansbrough, they went 12-4 in the ACC. We'll have to wait and see if Nick Calathes can give the Gators a similar boost.
Amazingly, last year Florida returned 90.2% of it's total 05-06 minutes; I would guess that's the most for a defending champ in a very long time.