Badgers can return to Final Four in 2015

Bo Ryan and the Badgers should be Big Ten favorites in 2014-15. Harry How/Getty Images

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The scene in the Wisconsin locker room was as somber as any I can recall in more than a decade. Josh Gasser embraced teammate Evan Anderson with both players crying uncontrollably. Frank Kaminsky was unable to raise his head as he sat before his locker in disbelief of what had just transpired.

The Badgers had just watched Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison crush their national championship dreams with his latest dagger, a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left over Gasser that sent Wisconsin home.

Devastating. Crushing. Brutal. Pick your adjective.

This Wisconsin team was just 5.7 seconds away from playing seventh-seeded UConn Monday night with a chance to win the national title.

"It sucks," Kaminsky said, over and over. But the sentiment is more permanent for some of the Badgers than others.

Senior Ben Brust is gone, but he’s the only player of note who won’t be back with Wisconsin next season. Gasser has another season. So does Traevon Jackson.

Both Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, who could each flirt with a decision to leave early for the NBA, told ESPN they will return to the Badgers next season. More often that not, I don’t hold kids to their NBA decisions just moments after an emotional loss, such as the one on Saturday night, but I believe Dekker and Kaminsky.

"I’m coming back," Dekker said.

"I’m not going anywhere," Kaminsky added.

If that’s the case, the Badgers have a chance to return to the Final Four.