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Way-too-early 2015-16 Big Ten basketball rankings

4. Wisconsin Badgers

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Losing Frank Kaminsky, the national player of the year, is a big deal. It would be at any program, but it’s even bigger for a program that has no player like him to insert in to the starting lineup next season. After losing out on Diamond Stone in late March, the Badgers will look a whole lot different next season.

Wisconsin may also look a whole lot younger in 2015-16 depending on what star forward Sam Dekker does this offseason. He hasn’t given a decision as of this writing, and while his departure would be a blow, it is softened a bit by the return of Nigel Hayes to the fold.

On Friday morning, Sam Dekker declared for the NBA Draft after three years in a Badgers uniform. It wasn’t a wholly unexpected move in the least, but it leaves the Badgers with a deep hole in the starting lineup…one that will require youth to grow up quickly this offseason.

Without Dekker, it could be redshirt freshman Ethan Haap (a former four-star recruit) moving in at the four and allowing Hayes to move out the three spot. Having point guard Bronson Koenig is a coup, as he could be the best point guard in the conference in 2015-16, and having that piece should allow the rest of the roster to adjust much easier to the changes happening.

Still, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this team struggle early and pick it up late in the Big Ten season as experience takes hold.

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Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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