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

11. Nebraska Cornhuskers

tim miles

Was there a more disappointing team in the Big Ten in 2014-15 than the Nebraska Cornhuskers? After breaking through to the NCAA tournament in 2013-14, the Huskers came back virtually intact this past season only to slide back below .500 overall and in Big Ten play.

2015-16 is going to be a whole different sort of challenge for Time Miles and his coaching staff, as gone will be the heart and soul and scoring punch of this team for the past two years — Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields. The duo combined to put up 33.6 points per game on a team that averaged just 61.5 points.

Add in the surprising loss of forward Walter Pitchford and this team is in a serious rebuilding mode in 2015-16. He was the team’s third leading scorer and the only real inside presence the Huskers had.

Moving forward Nebraska is going to have to find a way to make soon-to-be sophomore guard Tarin Smith a star. He’ll get some help from arguably the best recruiting class the Huskers have ever brought in in basketball.

The help will start with four-star point guard Glynn Watson, who will allow Smith to move off ball and give this team depth it didn’t have last year. Reinforcements are coming up front in the form of four-star power forward Ed Morrow out of Chicago powerhouse Simeon high school, as well as three-star power forward Michael Jacobson.

Given all the unknowns and potential for inconsistent play, this could be a team in for some harsh lessons if freshmen don’t grow up quickly.

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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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