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.