1. Northwestern (8-1). Last week: 1
Northwestern held Chicago State to 0.59 points per possession Sunday in a 77-35 win. At 8-1, the Wildcats have their best start since the 2011-12 season.
2. Western Illinois (7-2). Last week: 3
Western Illinois is off to its best start since joining Division I in the 1980s. The Leathernecks head to the Windy City this week for games against Chicago State and Loyola.
3. Southern Illinois (9-2). Last week: 2
Southern Illinois’ winning streak ended with a loss at home to SIU-Edwardsville, but the Salukis bounced back Saturday with another win over North Texas.
4. Northern Illinois (7-1). Last week: 5
After a week off, Northern Illinois returns to action Wednesday at Ohio State.
5. Loyola (5-4). Last week: 4
Loyola fell apart Sunday in the second half at Notre Dame. The Ramblers play at home the rest of the month, starting Wednesday with Cleveland State.
6. DePaul (5-4). Last week: 6
DePaul went on the road to defeat Drake but lost at home to undefeated Little Rock. The Blue Demons now enter a difficult stretch with games against Stanford, Northwestern and George Washington, followed by Big East play.
7. Illinois (6-5). Last week: 7
Illinois has a winning record for the first time this season after just barely knocking off UIC at the United Center. The Illini also got a very solid win against Ivy League contender Yale earlier in the week.
8. Illinois State (4-6). Last week: 8
Illinois State held off Murray State on Sunday for its first win against a Division I team since Nov. 21.
9. Eastern Illinois (2-6). Last week: 9
Eastern Illinois dropped a pair last week to Marshall and Western Illinois. The Panthers’ only game this week comes Saturday at Houston.
10. Bradley (1-9). Last week: 10
Bradley got demolished Tuesday by UT-Arlington, one of the nation’s top mid-majors. The Braves get an easy chance to end their nine-game losing streak this week when they host D-II Maryville.
11. SIU-Edwardsville (3-7). Last week: 13
SIU-Edwardsville ended a seven-game losing streak with an impressive win at Southern Illinois. The Cougars followed that with a home victory against Portland State.
12. UIC (1-6). Last week: 11
After getting blown out at UCF, UIC nearly upset Illinois at the United Center. The Flames look to end a four-game losing streak Wednesday against Illinois State.
13. Chicago State (3-8). Last week: 12
Chicago State dropped its seventh straight game Sunday at Northwestern.