1. Southern Illinois (18-5, 7-3 MVC). Last week: 1
A tough week for Southern Illinois resulted in losses to Evansville and Northern Iowa for its first back-to-back losses of the season.
2. Northwestern (15-8, 3-7 Big Ten). Last week: 2
Northwestern ended a four-game stretch against ranked opponents with an 0-4 record. The Wildcats get a much-needed cupcake Thursday against Minnesota.
3. Northern Illinois (16-5, 5-3 MAC). Last week: 3
Northern Illinois has lost its last two games, falling into a two-way tie for first place in the MAC West with Central Michigan.
4. Illinois (10-12, 2-7 Big Ten). Last week: 4
Illinois felt short in a pair of winnable home games against Ohio State and Wisconsin last week. The Illini play a must-win Wednesday at Rutgers.
5. Loyola (10-12, 3-7 MVC). Last week: 7
Loyola outlasted Indiana State in a 104-96, double-overtime thriller Saturday. The Ramblers play a key game Wednesday against Illinois State.
6. Illinois State (12-11, 6-4 MVC). Last week: 6
Illinois State’s three-game winning streak ended Saturday with an overtime loss at Missouri State.
7. DePaul (7-14, 1-8 Big East). Last week: 5
DePaul fell short last week in games against Butler and Xavier. The schedule does not get easier any time soon, as the Blue Demons’ next three games are against Providence, Creighton and Villanova.
8. Eastern Illinois (9-13, 6-4 OVC). Last week: 8
Eastern Illinois has won three games in a row to take the lead in the OVC West. Following a non-conference game Monday, the Panthers play three straight conference games at home.
9. Bradley (3-20, 1-9 MVC). Last week: 9
Bradley fell back into a tie for last place in the MVC with a loss to Drake. The Braves have two tough games this week at Missouri State and at home against Indiana State.
10. SIU-Edwardsville (4-18, 1-9 OVC). Last week: 10
SIU-Edwardsville has dropped four straight games since upsetting Eastern Kentucky. If the Cougars are going to climb out of the OVC cellar, they need to take advantage of home games against Tennessee-Martin and Murray State this week.
11. Western Illinois (7-13, 0-9 Summit). Last week: 11
After falling to IUPUI and IPFW last week, Western Illinois has lost 11 straight games.
12. UIC (3-18, 1-9 Horizon). Last week: 13
UIC got its first win of the season against a Division I opponent, coming from behind to defeat Cleveland State in overtime. The Flames will have a tough time building that into a string of wins, as they host Valparaiso, one of the nation’s top mid-majors, in their next game.
13. Chicago State (4-20, 0-7 WAC). Last week: 12
Chicago State remains winless in the WAC after losing at UMKC on Saturday. The Cougars will be big underdogs in their next five games. Four games in that stretch are on the road, and the lone home game is against conference title contender New Mexico State.