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Delgado ready to return Friday

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ Jesse Delgado, the two-time defending NCAA wrestling champion at 125 pounds, is scheduled to wrestle Friday for the first time since early November.

Delgado, who missed more than two months because of an undisclosed injury, plans to take the mat against Maryland in a match that begins at 7 p.m. at Huff Hall.

MJ: Seeding is believing - Duke, Gonzaga among No. 1s

Each week until Selection Sunday, college basketball writer Marcus Jackson will project the top four seeds for each region in the NCAA tournament. Here is this week’s look.

MIDWEST
1. Kentucky
2. Wisconsin
3. Notre Dame
4. Louisville
Kentucky and Louisville in the Sweet 16? The Commonwealth welcomes that.

Daniels: Lunt the front-runner

CHAMPAIGN ­­— Competition is a word Tim Beckman touches upon seemingly every day when talking about his football team.

The Illinois coach won’t guide his fourth Illini team onto the turf at Memorial Stadium for an actual game until Sept. 5 when Kent State arrives for the first meeting between the schools.

Tate: Big men aren't on center stage

Like fullbacks and nine-inning pitchers, centers in college basketball are dwindling.

Quality postmen, like Indiana’s Noah Vonleh and Michigan’s Mitch McGary, are gone before their eligibility expires. And many young giants formerly known as centers are disguised as forwards. Nobody wants to be called a center nowadays.

N-G Top 10: Boys' basketball rankings — Centennial at top

TEAM (PREVIOUS)    RECORD    COMMENT    
1. Centennial (2)    16-4    Hasn’t lost in 2015

2. St. Joseph-Ogden (4)    15-3    Last two losses by 12 total points

SJ-O bench provides lift

PAXTON — St. Joseph-Ogden didn’t panic even when it faced a nine-point first-quarter deficit against Paxton-Buckley-Loda.

The Spartans rallied for a 61-44 victory Tuesday night.

“PBL is playing as well as any team in the area right now,” SJ-O coach Brian Brooks said.

Daniels: Best area swimmers

Unit 4 Pool was the site of Tuesday’s Twin City Meet. Before action shifts to Urbana for the sectional next month, acting sports editor Matt Daniels picks out five standouts in the pool this winter:

Payton Woods, Central

Tuesday's prep highlights: Central rules Twin City pool

In boys’ swimming

At Champaign. Champaign Central easily won the four-team Twin City Meet at Unit 4 Pool, with the Maroons compiling 368 points. Central won 11 of 12 events, with Hunter Jones placing first in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 7.46 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:04.25).

Sports Talk 1-27-15

Sports Talk 1-27-15: Play now!

Steve Kelly, Loren Tate, and Martin O'Donnell talk with Illini Track/Field head coach Mike Turk.

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Bulletin board: Ex-Tiger takes over at Millikin

DECATUR — Urbana High School graduate Ryan Birt — who had more than 150 dual-meet wins in wrestling at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley — started Monday as the head wrestling coach at Millikin University, which is resurrecting its program after a seven-year hiatus.

His last day as associate head coach at Loras College, in Iowa, was Friday.