1. Northwestern (5-1). Last week: 1
After finishing third at the CBE Classic, Northwestern trounced New Orleans for a 90-63 victory. The Wildcats travel to Virginia Tech this week for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
2. Southern Illinois (6-1). Last week: 7
Southern Illinois lost a close game to UTEP but bounced back with a close win against Portland. The Salukis are off to their best start since the 2006-07 season, when Jamaal Tatum and Randal Falker were running the show.
3. Western Illinois (5-1). Last week: 2
Western Illinois’ perfect start came to a finish Saturday with a 97-67 loss at Creighton.
4. Northern Illinois (6-0). Last week: 6
Northern Illinois is 6-0 for the second time since World War II. After hosting Chicago State, the Huskies face two big tests on the road against Missouri and Ohio State.
5. Loyola (4-3). Last week: 3
Loyola had a disappointing showing at the Great Alaska Shootout, finishing fourth with losses to Toledo and UNC-Asheville. The Ramblers have a difficult stretch coming up with games against Creighton and Notre Dame in the next two weeks.
6. Illinois State (3-4). Last week: 4
Illinois State pulled away from D-II Quincy to end a two-game skid Friday. The Redbirds are staring at two tough matchups this week against Kentucky and UAB.
7. Illinois (3-4). Last week: 5
With Kendrick Nunn back, Illinois looked better, defeating UAB and hanging with Iowa State deep into the second half. A big opportunity awaits the Illini on Wednesday, when they host Notre Dame.
8. DePaul (2-3). Last week: 8
DePaul finished next-to-last at the Paradise Jam, losing to South Carolina and Florida State but beating Norfolk State. The Blue Demons have a pair of local matchups this week against UIC and Chicago State.
9. Bradley (1-6). Last week: 9
Bradley has lost six straight games since winning its season opener. To be fair, four of those losses have come against Power-Six teams.
10. UIC (1-3). Last week: 10
UIC remains winless against Division I competition after getting blown out at Drake over the weekend. The Flames return home Wednesday to face DePaul.
11. SIU-Edwardsville (1-4). Last week: 11
SIU-Edwardsville stuck with Butler into the second half before falling by double figures Saturday. A busy upcoming week pits the Cougars against Green Bay, Milwaukee and Northwestern.
12. Chicago State (3-4). Last week: 12
Chicago State has lost its last three games by a combined eight points. The Cougars, still searching for their first win against a Division I program, hit the road this week to face Northern Illinois and DePaul.
13. Eastern Illinois (0-4). Last week: 13
Eastern Illinois finally came within single digits of an opponent, but barely. The Panthers lost to Green Bay, 81-72.