Illinois Rankings, Jan. 30

Photo: Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune

We’ve got a new No. 1 in the Illinois Rankings! Yes, Illinois State is still undefeated in the MVC, but Northwestern won more convincingly against better opponents last week.

All that and more in this week’s rankings.

1. Northwestern (18-4, 7-2 Big Ten)

Last week: 2

Northwestern is back atop the rankings after beating Nebraska and Indiana by double figures last week. The Wildcats are half a game out of first place in the Big Ten and head to Purdue on Tuesday.

2. Illinois State (18-4, 10-0 MVC)

Last week: 1

Illinois State didn’t lose, but it struggled to put away Indiana State and Evansville, the two teams tied for last place in the Valley. The Redbirds could find themselves back at No. 1 if they beat Northern Iowa and Wichita State this week.

3. Loyola (16-7, 6-4 MVC)

Last week: 3

The Ramblers won three in a row after stomping on Bradley and Indiana State last week. They travel to Missouri State on Tuesday for a game with huge implications regarding the No. 3 seed at Arch Madness.

4. Illinois (13-9, 3-6 Big Ten)

Last week: 4

Illinois dropped to 0-5 in road games with a 71-67 loss at Penn State. The Illini’s ranking isn’t falling, but the gap between Illinois and Loyola is growing.

5. Northern Illinois (13-8, 5-3 MAC)

Last week: 5

NIU ended a two-game skid with a 74-72 win at Toledo. The Huskies get a big opportunity Tuesday when they host MAC leader Akron.

6. Southern Illinois (12-11, 5-5 MVC)

Last week: 6

SIU ended a three-game losing streak with a big overtime win over Missouri State. The Salukis are back in the hunt for third place thanks to this.

7. DePaul (8-13, 1-7 Big East)

Last week: 8

DePaul gave Creighton something of a fight Saturday but lost 83-66. The Blue Demons shot 35.9% on two’s, their fourth this month shooting 40% or worse inside the arc.

8. UIC (11-11, 4-5 Horizon)

Last week: 7

UIC dropped a pair of home games last week and now has its first three-game losing streak of the season. The upcoming week will be tough as the Flames head to Green Bay and Milwaukee.

9. Bradley (8-15, 3-7 MVC)

Last week: 9

The Braves gave Wichita State a good fight Sunday but still fell 15 points short. They have now lost five in a row.

10. Eastern Illinois (10-12, 2-7 OVC)

Last week: 10

Eastern Illinois ended its five-game losing streak by continuing SIU-Edwardsville’s eight-game losing streak. The Panthers beat the Cougars 75-60 on Saturday.

11. Western Illinois (7-13, 4-5 Summit)

Last week: 12

Western Illinois snapped a four-game slide by knocking off IUPUI at home. Despite a rough last few weeks, the Leathernecks are only one game out of third place in the Summit League.

12. Chicago State (6-18, 1-6 WAC)

Last week: 11

Chicago State squandered a great opportunity against one of the top teams in the WAC, blowing a double-digit lead at home against Grand Canyon and losing in double overtime.

13. SIU Edwardsville (5-18, 0-9 OVC)

Last week: 13

The Cougars have now lost nine straight games and 14 straight against Division I opponents. Don’t expect them to win Monday at Belmont, either.

Past rankings:

Jan. 23

Jan. 16

Jan. 9

Jan. 2

Dec. 26

Dec. 19

Dec. 12

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