Powers' Illinois college hoops rankings

Illinois' Demetri McCamey is averaging 15.4 points a game and 6.4 assists. Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire

1. Illinois (16-8): The Illini likely saved their season with their win over Michigan State on Saturday. Illinois is on a roll as it has won its past four games and is 8-3 in the conference, but its schedule is one of the toughest in the country from here on out. The Illini's next seven games include two against No. 16 Ohio State, two against No. 13 Wisconsin and one against No. 6 Purdue. They also travel to Michigan and host Minnesota. If Demetri McCamey continues to dominate, Illinois should be able to pull off a couple of upsets. (Previously ranked No. 2)

2. Northwestern (16-7): The Wildcats' NCAA hopes rest on their next seven Big Ten games. Currently 5-6 in conference, they likely need to win at least five of those games. The one nice thing is most of those contests are against the bottom of the Big Ten with a home game against Minnesota and a road one against Wisconsin their most difficult challenges. (1)

3. Illinois State (16-8): The Redbirds have been up and down throughout the Missouri Valley season. They are 7-6 and in a tie for third place with Bradley and Creighton. They travel to Bradley on Tuesday for a key game. Forward Dinma Odiakosa has had some big games lately for Illinois State. (3)

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