1. Northwestern (13-2, 1-1 Big Ten). Last week: 1
Northwestern’s 10-game winning streak ended Saturday with a 72-59 loss to Maryland. The Wildcats should be favored this week in matchups against Ohio State and Minnesota.
2. Southern Illinois (13-2, 2-0 MVC). Last week: 2
With wins against Northern Iowa and Loyola to start MVC play, Southern Illinois is proving its worth as a legitimate MVC contender. After traveling to Bradley on Wednesday, the Salukis have a huge game Saturday against Wichita State in Carbondale.
3. Northern Illinois (11-2). Last week: 3
Although Northern Illinois has a fantastic non-conference record, four of the wins have come against non-Division I opponents.
4. DePaul (6-8, 0-2 Big East). Last week: 5
DePaul dropped a close game Saturday at Seton Hall despite another strong performance from point guard Billy Garrett Jr. The Blue Demons host Butler on Tuesday in search of their second Top 25 win of the year.
5. Illinois (8-7, 0-2 Big Ten). Last week: 6
Illinois is off to an 0-2 start in the Big Ten after a pair of competitive losses. The Illini are in serious danger of dropping to 0-4 with their next two games coming against Michigan State and Purdue.
6. Illinois State (8-7, 2-0 MVC). Last week: 8
Illinois State took care of business to start MVC play, defeating Missouri State and Drake. The Redbirds host Loyola on Wednesday.
7. Loyola (7-7, 0-2 MVC). Last week: 4
Loyola is off to a poor conference start with losses to Southern Illinois and Indiana State.
8. Western Illinois (7-6, 0-2 Summit). Last week: 7
Western Illinois’ losing streak increased to four games last week with close losses to Nebraska-Omaha and South Dakota State.
9. Eastern Illinois (4-10, 1-1 OVC). Last week: 9
Eastern Illinois split a two-game road swing to start OVC play. Saturday’s win against Jacksonville State ended a six-game losing streak against Division I opponents.
10. Bradley (2-13, 0-2 MVC). Last week: 10
Bradley had a tough start to MVC play with games against Northern Iowa and Wichita State, and the Braves lost both by an average of 31.5 points.
11. SIU Edwardsville (3-11, 0-2 OVC). Last week: 11
SIU Edwardsville’s losing streak reached four games with defeats to Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech. The Cougars have a toughie Wednesday against Belmont.
12. Chicago State (4-12). Last week: 12
After three straight losses to conclude non-conference play, Chicago State begins WAC competition Saturday against Seattle.
13. UIC (2-10, 0-1 Horizon). Last week: 13
UIC remains without a Division I win entering the first full week of January. Last week, the Flames dropped a close game to Northern Illinois and then were blown out by Horizon League favorite Valparaiso.