Illinois a No. 9 seed in CBT's projected bracket

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Illinois a No. 9 seed in CBT's projected bracket

John Groce's Illinois squad has had a rough going in January, falling to 1-4 in conference before rebounding Tuesday with a 71-51 win over Nebraska. The recent stretch -- which has included losses in five of eight games -- has knocked the Illini out of the AP Top 25, and NBC Sports' College Basketball Talk recently bumped Groce's all the way down to a nine-seed in their most recent projected bracket.
They are one of eight Big Ten teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament by CBT's Dave Ommen, joining Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa in the bracket.
The current bracket has the Illini squaring off against No. 8 Georgetown in the West region, with a date against No. 1 Arizona (or No. 16 Northeastern, the projected winner of the Colonial Conference) awaiting in the third round.
Michigan is the Big Ten's lone No. 1 seed in the projected bracket, while two-seeded Indiana, three-seeded Minnesota and four-seeded Michigan State round out the top 16 spots.
Fifth-seeded Ohio State, seventh-seeded Wisconsin and eleventh-seeded Iowa round out the eight bids, which are the most of any league in the projected bracket.
Nothing will get easier for Groce and the Illini, who begin a five-game stretch Sunday that includes Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota. Four of those five teams are ranked in the top 13, and the fifth -- Wisconsin -- is currently ranked 27th after knocking off then-No. 2 Indiana last week.

DePaul basketball program on the rise after landing 5-star recruit Tyger Campbell

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AP

DePaul basketball program on the rise after landing 5-star recruit Tyger Campbell

DePaul hoops received a huge boost this week as five-star recruit Tyger Campbell committed to the university.

The elite point guard recruit out of La Lumiere, will join the Class of 2018, choosing DePaul over schools like Michigan State, Illinois and Memphis.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy.

"Mainly what I like about the school is I want to help bring it back. I love Chicago; it's a great city. I want to bring the city a college back to cheer for."

Campbell also said the Blue Demons' new Wintrust Arena at McCormick Place Event Center, which is slated to open this fall, is a big draw for him.

The Blue Demons are a combined 18-45 the last two seasons and hasven't had a winning season since 2006-07 when they went 20-14 and made the NIT Quarterfinals.

The program last made the NCAA Tournament in 2003-04 during Leitao's first stint as the team's head coach.

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

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USA TODAY

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

Northern Illinois University added it's fourth known verbal commitment today in its growing Class of 2018.

Maine South junior running back Fotis Kokosioulis (5-foot-8, 165 pounds) added an offer from the Huskies on Tuesday after making a spring practice visit, and today he gave head coach Rod Carey his verbal commitment.

"I chose NIU because it's been a school that I've liked for awhile now," Kokosioulis said moments ago. "I like the facilities at NIU, the stadium and everything else they have to offer. I also really like all the coaches at NIU. I felt that even if I got more offers I would've still chose NIU over other schools. I know that there are bigger school and programs but I feel that I just fit in well at NIU, so I committed."

Kokosioulis, who was an All-State performer for the Class 8A state champion Maine South Hawks in 2016, is now the fourth known in-state verbal commitment for Rod Carey and the Huskies and the fifth known commitment overall. Kokosioulis joins Andrew defensive end Mike DeHaan, Plainfield East defensive end Jack Sullivan and Danville tight end Julian Pearl in the NIU Huskies in-state Class of 2018.