LINCOLN, Neb. - Out of the six Big Ten basketball schools that made the NCAA tournament earlier this year, Wisconsin and Nebraska return the most scoring – meaning the Badgers and Huskers are likely to make a strong push next March.
Key losses: Ben Burst (488 points)
Returning scorer percentage: 82%
After a final four run, Wisconsin actually returns the most scoring in the Big Ten, led by 7-footer Frank Kaminsky's 13.9 points per game. The Badgers were very balanced on offense this season, with six people averaging 7.7 points or more a game. They only lose one of those scorers.
Terran Petteway (Stewart Photography)
Key losses: Ray Gallegos (219 points)
Returning scorer percentage: 81%
Nebraska made the NCAA tournament for the first time in years and anyone thinking the Huskers can't make a return trip is out of touch with what Tim Miles and crew have to work with on the roster. Nebraska's top three scorers return in Terran Petteway (18.1 ppg.), Shavon Shields (12.8 ppg.), and Walter Pitchford (9.3 ppg.).
Returning scorer percentage: 63%
With talk of a possible No. 2 seed midway through the year, Iowa struggled down the stretch, failing to capitalize on Marble's 17 points per game. Despite what feels like a possible missed opportunity, the Hawkeyes sit pretty well with a lot of scoring returning – despite not having that go-to talent. Aaron White (12.8 ppg.) will need to step up.
Returning scorer percentage: 50%
Mitch McGary could still jump to the league, but it's unlikely as the sophomore still rehabs from a back surgery he had in December. McGary is a possible All-American type talent, meaning he his 9.5 points per game scoring average last season when he was hurt should take a jump. John Beilein hasn't missed the tournament in four years and has a four-star talent in Kameron Chatman who should make an instant impact. Michigan will have enough to make another NCAA tournament next year.
Key losses: LaQuinton Ross (533 points), Lenzelle Smith Jr. (385 points), and Aaron Craft (342 points).
Returning scorer percentage:48%
Thad Matta doesn't rebuild at Ohio State, he reloads, making at least the NCAA tournament second round eight times in ten seasons with the school. The 2014-15 season shouldn't be any different, with guys like Sam Thompson and Amir Williams being possible players that will step up.
Returning scorer percentage:47%
Tom Izzo has made the NCAA tournament 17 years in a row, but next season looks to be one where the Sparty will struggle to make a deep run. MSU loses three of their top four scorers, with former high school All-American Brandon Dawson (11.2 ppg.) expected to be the Spartans biggest scoring threat.
Three Big Ten teams made the NCAA Elite Eight in 2014 and all had two things in common – all three made the NCAA tournament the prior year and had at least 55 percent of their scorers returning.
Wisconsin – 55%
Michigan State – 84%
Michigan – 55%
Will it translate to next season for a school like Nebraska? It definitely appears the Huskers have the talent returning and the pieces to make a big run in Coach Miles' third season.