Illinois Rankings, March 6

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Upstate, Northwestern made the biggest play in program history. Down in St. Louis, Illinois State had its chance to lock up a NCAA Tournament bid but failed to do so.

With that, Northwestern is the new No. 1 in this week’s rankings.

1. Northwestern (22-9, 11-7 Big Ten)

Last week: 3

Northwestern knocked off Michigan on a miracle buzzer-beater and then took Purdue to the wire in a close loss. This team has its mojo back.

2. Illinois State (27-6, 17-1 MVC)

Last week: 1

Illinois State reached the MVC finals but got run out of the building by Wichita State. The Redbirds’ chances for an at-large bid are existent but slim.

3. Illinois (18-13, 8-10 Big Ten)

Last week: 2

After a huge win over Michigan State, Illinois took a really bad loss at Rutgers. The Illini’s NCAA Tournament hopes aren’t totally done, but they will likely need multiple wins at the Big Ten Tournament to get in.

4. Southern Illinois (17-16, 8-10 MVC)

Last week: 5

The Salukis advanced to the MVC semifinals, but their season ended there with a 63-50 loss to top-seeded Illinois State.

5. Loyola (18-14, 8-10 MVC)

Last week: 4

Loyola’s season ended Friday with a 55-50 loss to Southern Illinois in the quarterfinals. The Ramblers could still play in a C-list postseason tournament, but that’s up in the air.

6. DePaul (9-22, 2-16 Big East)

Last week: 6

DePaul hung with Xavier in the Allstate Arena but fell 79-65. The Blue Demons will face the Musketeers again Wednesday in the first round of the Big East Tournament.

7. Bradley (13-20, 7-11 MVC)

Last week: 7

The Braves made a big jump in the Valley this year, although their season ended with an 82-56 loss to Wichita State in the conference quarterfinals. With no seniors, everyone should be back, and this team could compete for a spot in the top half of the MVC next year.

8. Northern Illinois (15-16, 7-11 MAC)

Last week: 8

NIU ended the regular season with losses in seven of eight games. The Huskies have their work cut out for them with a road game against Eastern Michigan in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

9. UIC (15-17, 7-11 Horizon)

Last week: 9

UIC upset Green Bay in the Horizon League quarterfinals and will face 10th-seeded Milwaukee in the semifinals. The Flames are now the second-highest seed remaining in the field after a weekend filled with upsets.

10. Eastern Illinois (14-15, 6-10 OVC)

Last week: 10

Eastern Illinois’ season ended a while back after not making the OVC Tournament.

11. Western Illinois (8-20, 5-11 Summit)

Last week: 11

Western Illinois took top-seeded South Dakota into overtime in the Summit League quarterfinals but lost 78-69, ending the Leathernecks’ season.

12. SIU Edwardsville (6-24, 1-15 OVC)

Last week: 12

The Cougars didn’t make the OVC Tournament either.

13. Chicago State (6-25, 1-13 WAC)

Last week: 13

Chicago State goes into the WAC Tournament on a 10-game losing streak.

Past rankings:

Feb. 27

Feb. 20

Feb. 13

Feb. 6

Jan. 30

Jan. 23

Jan. 16

Jan. 9

Jan. 2

Dec. 26

Dec. 19

Dec. 12

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