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Andy Wittry | | October 12, 2018

Syracuse, Kansas State, Florida State return most production among last year's Sweet 16 teams

Christopher Hanewinckel | USA TODAY Sports Images Florida State's Phil Cofer celebrates after beating Xavier

March Madness is the pinnacle of the college basketball season and with the first games of the 2018-19 campaign tipping off in less than a month, we analyzed the past so that we can look ahead to the future.

More specifically, we examined what last season's Sweet 16 participants return in terms of production – starts, minutes, points, rebounds, assists and three-pointers – to see what teams could be poised to make another NCAA tournament run.

The chart below (sorted high to low in terms of percentage of returning minutes) shows a wide range of returning production. Kansas State returns every starter while Duke's returning players combined for just eight starts last season.

school starts minutes points rebounds assists three-pointers
syracuse 89.19% 90.75% 93.80% 80.44% 94.43% 97.60%
kansas state 100% 88.05% 92.93% 79.49% 93.14% 90.55%
florida state 53.71% 68.54% 70.81% 67.78% 61.95% 61.17%
clemson 67.43% 66.18% 64.55% 63.85% 71.27% 53.13%
gonzaga 59.46% 65.09% 68.65% 54.57% 70.92% 76.83%
nevada 65.95% 60.88% 67.50% 64.51% 76.92% 47.18%
loyola chicago 57.89% 57.25% 58.10% 47.87% 60.10% 50.90%
west virginia 61.62% 57.06% 52.26% 58.39% 31.37% 54.35%
michigan 51.71% 51.73% 47.13% 50.99% 56.75% 36.01%
kansas 42.56% 46.21% 42.00% 55.26% 25.58% 20.20%
purdue 22.16% 42.67% 39.78% 37.07% 42.81% 40.51%
villanova 35.50% 39.21% 29.54% 33.29% 34.35% 26.51%
texas A&M 30.29% 38.11% 38.54% 24.41% 36.62% 47.83%
texas tech 27.57% 35.79% 32.62% 34.46% 31.95% 46.03%
kentucky 43.24% 33.08% 31.97% 30.47% 32.31% 24.10%
duke 4.32% 22.09% 13.84% 24.16% 14.35% 11.65%

Here's a closer look at the teams with the most returning production.

Brian Spurlock | USA TODAY Sports Images Syracuse guard Tyus Battle goes up for a dunk


Notable returning players: G Tyus Battle, F Oshae Brissett, G Frank Howard, C Paschal Chukwu, F Marek Dolezaj

Will have to replace: F Matthew Moyer

As a No. 11 seed assigned to play in the First Four in Dayton, Syracuse won three NCAA tournament games in a row by a combined 11 points to advance to the Sweet 16, where the Orange lost to ACC counterpart Duke, 69-65. The team's rotation from last season, which included two freshman starters, is almost completely intact, led by a veteran backcourt of Tyus Battle and Frank Howard, along with a quintessential Syracuse frontcourt that features great size and length.

Brett Davis | USA TODAY Sports Images Kansas State's Xavier Sneed celebrates

Kansas State

Notable returning players: G Barry Brown, F Dean Wade, F Xavier Sneed, G Kamau Stokes, G Cartier Diarra, F Makol Mawien

Will have to replace: G Amaad Wainwright

Kansas State may have benefitted from UMBC's upset of No. 1 overall seed Virginia as much as anyone as the No. 9-seeded Wildcats made an Elite Eight run. They'll have the roster to get back again next spring as their top seven scorers from last season return. Plus, the team's leading scorer, forward Dean Wade, only played eight minutes in the 2018 NCAA tournament due to injury, so Kansas State was able to make it to a regional final without his usual 16 points and six rebounds per game.

Robert Hanashiro | USA TODAY Sports Images Florida State's PJ Savoy celebrates

Florida State

Notable returning players: F Phil Cofer, G Terance Mann, G Trent Forrest, G M.J. Walker, F Mfiondu Kabengele, C Christ Koumadje

Will have to replace: G Braian Angola-Rodas, G CJ Walker

Like Kansas State, Florida State was another surprise Elite Eight team as a No. 9 seed after the Seminoles beat No. 1 seed Xavier and No. 4 seed Gonzaga. They ultimately fell 58-54 to national runner-up Michigan in the West Regional final.

Florida State will have to replace starting guards CJ Walker and Braian Angola-Rodas but the 'Noles return roughly two-thirds of their production, including 12 point-per-game scorers Phil Cofer and Terance Mann.

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