Your recipe sheet most likely says to secondary. Most all recipe sheets still say that, but it is not necessary if not doing fruit additions or oaking, etc. Leave the beer in the primary long enough for the trub/yeast layer to compact. Lower your siphon down to the trub/yeast layer as you rack to the bottling bucket. This will minimize picking up excess yeast.
Try a hop catcher if you'er not sure.
This is the amount of hops captured racking an IPA to the bottling bucket.
Would not have made much difference with the beer going into 48 bottles. Primary time will make the biggest difference in the quality of your beer.
Nowadays I'm spending more time on temperature control rather than going to the bottle as fast as possible.