There is no movement in the rankings of the state teams as they all continue to tread water (or sink at the bottom). In reality, there is not much difference between the top four teams. If they played a four team tournament I would be hard-pressed to predict who would come out on top. Illinois and DePaul have the biggest upside and both teams have a chance to prove their worth in upcoming games against top competition.
1. Southern Illinois (14-5 overall, 2-1 last week) The Salukis have lost their last three road games including their last one Wednesday against Evansville. The Purple Aces are the lowest rated team Southern has lost to with an RPI of 98. Salukis have a chance to redeem themselves Saturday at Creighton.
2. Illinois (14-6, 1-1 last week) Illinois has blown a second half lead in five of their six losses this season. This week it was a nine point halftime lead over Michigan State that the Illini couldn't hold. They came back to beat Minnesota on the road on Wednesday. This week they have Wisconsin and Indiana at home. If they win both they shoot right back into the field of 65. Split and they remain on the outside looking in. For Bruce's sake, at least beat the Hoosiers.
3. Bradley (13-7, 1-1 last week) The Braves got a good win at Indiana St. last week, but lost at Creighton. Still looking at an NIT bid.
4. DePaul(12-7, 2-0 last week) DePaul won two games they should have won, at Rutgers and home against St. John's. The Demons have a chance to make some noise over the next two weeks with games against Georgetown, UConn, and W. Virginia.
5. Loyola (12-7, 1-1 last week) They lost at UIC but remain ahead of them in the rankings, thanks to the Flames losing at UW-Milwaukee and the Ramblers winning at Detroit. The Ramblers play their next four games at home and look to improve upon their 4-3 conference record. Butler comes to Rogers Park next Thursday.
6. Illinois State (10-9, 1-2 last week) Beat reeling Wichita State on Thursday but dropped home game to Missouri State.
7. UIC (9-10, 1-1 last week) Beat Loyola then turns around a drops a road game to UW-Milwaukee (RPI 178). Three winnable games coming up against Wisconsin-Green Bay, Detroit and Cleveland St.
8. Chicago State (7-15, 0-1 last week) they played Oral Roberts (who beat Kansas) tough on the road before losing 59-53.
9. Northern Illinois(4-12, 0-2) Things don't look like they are going to be getting easier for Rob Judson up in DeKalb.
10. Eastern Illinois(5-15, 0-2) Boy, I had some good times in Charleston. None of those good times involved basketball.
11. Western Illinois(4-14, 0-2) I spent a weekend in Macomb too. Let me tell you, its no Charleston. Western has an RPI of 335 out of 336 teams. I think the Leathernecks should set up a game against Denver (RPI 336) to determine exactly who has the crappiest D1 team in the nation. And congratulations to Larry Dumas, from Bloom High School, on your scholarship to Western. Go Trojans(or whatever your calling yourselves these days)! I hope you're part of the solution and not the problem.