Big Ten

Badgers upset Hawkeyes in Iowa City for ninth win in 10 games


Badgers upset Hawkeyes in Iowa City for ninth win in 10 games

Two things appear more and more clear each time Wisconsin walks off the court: Greg Gard 100-percent deserves the permanent head-coaching job, and the Badgers easily belong in the NCAA tournament field of 68.

At this point, the question becomes how high a seed can they get?

For the ninth time in the last 10 games, Wisconsin was victorious on Wednesday night, this time pulling off another top-10 upset with a 67-59 takedown of No. 8 Iowa in Iowa City.

Since opening the Big Ten season with just one win in their first five games, the Badgers are 9-1 in their last 10, a stretch that includes victories over four ranked teams: vs. Michigan State, vs. Indiana, at Maryland and at Iowa. Wednesday's win sent Wisconsin into a momentary tie with Michigan State for fourth place in the conference standings with a 10-5 league record.

The Badgers shot well Wednesday night, using 51.9-percent shooting in a closely contested first half to head to the break with a lead, even if it was a small one of just a point.

The Hawkeyes burst out of the break with seven straight points to build a six-point lead, and the lead was six at the second half's midway point. But then the Badgers punched back with back-to-back 3-pointers from Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig to tie the game, and a Khalil Iverson dunk gave Wisconsin back the lead, 53-51 with under nine minutes to go. The game was 56-all with six minutes to play — Peter Jok tying the game with a bucket — but a Koenig triple a minute later put the Badgers in front for good. Iowa went ice cold from there, missing its final eight shots and scoring just three points, all on free throws, over the game's final six minutes.

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The Hawkeyes were done in by miserable second-half shooting, posting just a 26.7-percent mark over the final 20 minutes, part of a 32.7-percent shooting on the evening. Iowa also turned the ball over 14 times, leading to 13 Wisconsin points. All that despite a big rebounding advantage, 43-30, with 20 offensive rebounds leading to 14 points. The Hawkeyes also went 18-for-25 from the free-throw line, as opposed to the Badgers going just 7-for-12.

But Wisconsin had a giant edge in bench scoring, getting 23 points from its reserves, including nine points apiece from Iverson and Jordan Hill. Iowa got just four points from non-starters. The Badgers also hit twice as many triples as the Hawkeyes, with 10.

Wisconsin held Iowa to a season-low 59 points. It's the eighth team this season that has scored a season-low against the Badgers.

Koenig led the way for the Badgers with 15 points, including four made 3s, and Hayes finished with 10, going just 3-for-11 from the field.

Jok had a terrific night scoring with 21 points for the Hawkeyes. Anthony Clemmons had 13 points, Jarrod Uthoff had 11 points (albeit on 3-for-12 shooting) and Adam Woodbury grabbed a whopping 18 rebounds.

The win sent Wisconsin to 18-10 overall and 10-5 in the conference. The test will now be how high a seed the Badgers can lock down in the conference tournament. Three games remain on the regular-season schedule against Michigan, Minnesota and Purdue.

The loss snapped a 16-game home winning streak for Iowa, which dropped to 20-7 overall and 11-4 in the league. The Hawkeyes are losers of three of their last four and dropped out of a tie for first place in the Big Ten standings. The final three games on Iowa's regular-season schedule are against Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.