Each week, college basketball writer Scott Richey projects his top four seeds for each region of the NCAA tournament. This week? A first look that, based on how this season has gone so far, won’t look remotely familiar come March:
2. San Diego State
3. Florida State
Poor three-point shooting defined the early part of Kentucky’s season. The Wildcats just didn’t have enough guys consistently knocking down shots. That might be changing. In its last four games — all wins — Kentucky is shooting 44.8 percent from deep thanks to Immanuel Quickley’s 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) effort.
4. Seton Hall
Baylor’s win at Kansas last week — the Bears’ first ever at Allen Fieldhouse in their 18th try — was impressive. So is what coach Scott Drew’s team is doing defensively this season. Baylor has won 12 straight games and given up just 57.2 points per game in that streak, including 55 to the Jayhawks.
2. West Virginia
Name one player that’s made a bigger out-of-nowhere splash this season than Dayton’s Obi Toppin. I’ll wait. ... Can’t do it, huh? The dynamic redshirt sophomore forward — and onetime Illinois recruiting target — has turned himself into a lottery pick by averaging 19.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
4. Michigan State
Butler was picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll. Eighth! What the Bulldogs have done instead is win 15 of 16 games with their only loss coming by one point on the road to Baylor. Apparently it does help to have seven upperclassmen (plus one sophomore) in the rotation for coach LaVall Jordan’s program.