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Seeding is Believing | Illinois holding steady on the No. 3 line

Feb. 1—Men's college basketball and Illini beat writer Scott Richey projects his top-four seeds for each region of the NCAA tournament. This week? The top seeds don't change, and Illinois maintains its place.

MIDWEST

1. Purdue (20-2)

2. Marquette (16-5)

3. Kansas (17-4)

4. Kentucky (15-5)

Marquette has won five straight after starting Big East play 2-3. All-American guard Tyler Kolek has averaged 18.8 points, 9.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds in that span all while opposing fan bases chant at him that he can't read and apparently question where he was on Jan. 6. (Yes, that Jan. 6).

1. North Carolina (17-4)

2. Tennessee (15-5)

3. Illinois (16-5)

4. Creighton (16-5)

This might run counter to Illinois fans' deeply held feelings about the rest of the Big Ten, but they need to start rooting for Maryland and Ohio State. Vigorously. More success for the Terrapins could improve the Illini's Quad III home loss last month into a Quad II loss, and if the Buckeyes can win a few more games, Tuesday night's Illini road win might stay a Quad I victory.

EAST

1. Connecticut (19-2)

2. Wisconsin (16-4)

3. Iowa State (16-4)

4. Brigham Young (15-5)

BYU was picked to finish 13th (out of 14 teams) in its first season in the Big 12. Turns out nobody told the Cougars that. BYU is one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams in the country at just more than 33 attempts per game, but five players averaging double-digit points has helped make the Cougars a top-10 offense nationally.

SOUTH

1. Houston (19-2)

2. Arizona (15-5)

3. Auburn (17-4)

4. Duke (16-4)

Arizona has taken three head-scratching Pac-12 road losses this season to teams it shouldn't lose to regardless of the game's location, but the Wildcats haven't let getting beat by Stanford or Washington State or Oregon State snowball. Third-year coach Tommy Lloyd, who has a career record of 76-16, still hasn't lost consecutive games during his tenure in Tucson, Ariz.