Northwestern seeded No. 7, Illinois No. 9 in NCAA West Region bracket
Northwestern and Illinois both will be in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament bracket this year.
Northwestern is seeded No. 7 in the West, slated to play Boise St. on at 6:35 p.m. Thursday on TruTV. Illinois is seeded No. 9, slated to play Arkansas at 3:30 p.m. Thursday on TBS.
Kansas is the No. 1 seed will have coach Bill Self back on the sideline.
Northwestern and Illinois are part of the big Big Ten showing in the tournament, with Purdue landing a No. 1 seed in the East Region and Iowa No. 8 in the Midwest Region.
Northwestern had a 21-11 record in a surprising season. It was ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten tournament but lost in the quarterfinal round to Penn St. in overtime. Purdue won the Big Ten tournament on Sunday.
Illinois had a 20-12 record for the season. It also lost to Penn St. in the Big Ten tournament.
Self missed the Big 12 Tournament after undergoing a heart procedure, but the school announced Sunday he will return to lead the third-ranked Jayhawks against Howard in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday.
Kansas (27-7) won its first two games at the Big 12 Tournament without Self before losing 76-56 to No. 7 Texas in the title game.
The Jayhawks appeared as though they would slip to a No. 2 seed when top-ranked Houston got the top spot in the Midwest, but the NCAA selection committee still made them the No. 1 in a West Region that ends in Las Vegas on March 23-25.
Kansas faces a difficult road in its bid to become college basketball's first repeat champion since Florida in 2006-07.
The stacked West Region includes No. 2 UCLA, No. 9 Gonzaga, No. 11 UConn, No. 16 Saint Mary's and No. 22 TCU.
Get by Howard, which is in its first NCAA Tournament since 1992, and the Jayhawks will get a stiff test in the second round against Arkansas or Illinois.