Illinois Rankings, Jan. 9

Photo: Jacob Wiegand / The Daily Egyptian

For the first time this year, we have a new No. 1 team. Northwestern’s reign ended after losing a tight game to Minnesota, and Illinois State took the Wildcats’ vacated spot.

That and more in this week’s Illinois Rankings.

1. Illinois State (12-4, 4-0 MVC)

Last week: 2

Illinois State is on a tear with five straight wins and a 4-0 start in the Valley.

Are the Redbirds better than Wichita State? We’ll get our answer Saturday when they host the Shockers.

2. Northwestern (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten)

Last week: 1

After a close loss to Minnesota, Northwestern rebounded with an impressive road win at Nebraska. The Wildcats play a pair of must-win games this week against Rutgers and Iowa.

3. Illinois (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten)

Last week: 3

Illinois’ road struggles continued with a 96-80 loss at Indiana on Saturday. The Illini get a pair of much-needed home matchups this week against Michigan and Maryland.

4. Loyola (12-5, 2-2 MVC)

Last week: 4

Loyola got back on track with wins against Northern Iowa and Bradley next week. The Ramblers have a chance to make a statement Wednesday at Wichita State.

5. Southern Illinois (10-7, 3-1 MVC)

Last week: 7

The Salukis got a huge win Saturday at Missouri State for their third straight win. They can make another statement Wednesday when they host Illinois State.

6. Bradley (7-10, 2-2 MVC)

Last week: 6

Bradley got a nice road win at Evansville but proceeded to get rocked by Loyola. The Braves face a difficult stretch with three of their next five games on the road followed by a home game against Wichita State.

7. Northern Illinois (9-6, 1-1 MAC)

Last week: 5

Northern Illinois split its first two conference games ahead of a difficult week with road games against Kent State and Bowling Green.

8. UIC (8-8, 1-2 Horizon)

Last week: 10

After easily beating Detroit, UIC nearly sent shockwaves through the Horizon League against Oakland, but the Flames fell by one point.

9. DePaul (7-9, 0-3 Big East)

Last week: 8

DePaul got rocked at Seton Hall for its fifth straight loss. The Demons host Providence on Tuesday in what could be their best remaining chance for a conference win.

10. Eastern Illinois (9-7, 1-2 OVC)

Last week: 9

Eastern Illinois ended a three-game slide with a 74-60 win at Eastern Kentucky.

11. Western Illinois (6-9, 3-1 Summit)

Last week: 11

After a rough non-conference performance, Western Illinois has opened Summit League play on a tear. The Leathernecks knocked off South Dakota State and Oral Roberts last week.

12. Chicago State (4-14, 0-2 WAC)

Last week: 12

Chicago State opened WAC play with double-digit losses at home to UTRGV and New Mexico State. The Cougars have now lost five straight games.

13. SIU Edwardsville (5-12, 0-3 OVC)

Last week: 13

The Cougars are off to a rough start in the OVC, but they should be favored Thursday against Austin Peay.

Past rankings:

Jan. 2

Dec. 26

Dec. 19

Dec. 12

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