Commentary

Illinois college basketball rankings

Illini's Paul off to great start

Updated: November 20, 2009, 4:48 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

[+] EnlargeBrandon Paul
AP Photo/Robert K. O'DaniellIllinois freshman Brandon Paul is averaging 21 points in two games.

1. Illinois (2-0) -- Illinois freshman Brandon Paul has been sensational in his first two collegiate games, averaging 21 points. If Paul can keep this up, the Illini could be in for a special season. (Previously ranked No.1)

2. Northwestern (1-1) -- The Wildcats have had the worst luck so far. They already have lost star Kevin Coble and key backup Jeff Ryan for the season. Northwestern hung with Butler for a bit on Wednesday, but it just didn't have the firepower to upset the No. 10 Bulldogs. (3)

3. Illinois State (1-0) -- The Redbirds had no trouble with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in their season opener. Osiris Eldridge had his usual night, scoring a game-high 19 points. Tony Lewis, a former high school teammate of Eldridge's, contributed 10 points and 11 boards in the win, too. (4)

4. Southern Illinois (2-0) -- The Salukis opened their season with easy wins. Sophomore guard Kevin Dillard had 16 points and 10 assists against Indianapolis. Saturday's game at UNLV could be an interesting one for Southern Illinois. (5)

5. DePaul (1-0) -- The Blue Demons got a scare from Columbia in their season opener. Mac Koshwal looked impressive in the win. A DePaul win over Northern Iowa on Friday would provide some confidence. (6)

6. Bradley (1-1) -- One of the Braves' main strengths this season looked to be their backcourt depth. That depth recently took a hit as Bradley will be without guard Dodie Dunson for the rest of the season after he broke two bones in his forearm. The Braves lost their season opener to a quality Brigham Young team. (7)

7. Northern Illinois (0-2) -- The Huskies were outmatched by Illinois and Northwestern in their first two games. To add to the bad news, high-scoring Xavier Silas, a transfer from Colorado, will miss at least two weeks with a fractured right hand. (8)

8. Loyola (1-1) -- The Ramblers bounced back from their season-opening 38-point loss to Kansas State with a 20-point win over Canisius. Geoff McCammon had a career-high 22 points in the win. (9)

9. UIC (1-1) -- The Flames lost by 19 points to Central Michigan in their second game. Robert Kreps has scored in double figures in both of UIC's games. They have Illinois State next week. (10)

10. Eastern Illinois (1-1) -- The Panthers opened with a win over Toledo and then lost to IUPUI. Freshman Shaun Pratl had 14 points off the bench in the loss. (11)

11. Western Illinois (1-2) -- The Leathernecks' season started off with road losses to Arizona State and Kansas State. In their win over Truman, Quenton Kirby scored a team-high 18 points. (12)

12. Chicago State (1-1) -- The Cougars lost on the road at Iowa State. Their wins were over Concordia and Trinity International. Guard Christian Wall had a team-high 19 points against Iowa State. (13)

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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