Big Ten

With beatdown of Spartans, Hawkeyes state case as Big Ten's best

jarrod-uthoff-0114.png

With beatdown of Spartans, Hawkeyes state case as Big Ten's best

The best team in the Big Ten right now? No, it's not either of the teams ranked in the top four in the country.

No team in the conference looks better than Iowa, which bolstered that argument Thursday night with a 76-59 beatdown of Michigan State in East Lansing, the Hawkeyes' second win over the Spartans this season.

Denzel Valentine hit a 3-pointer to open the game and Eron Harris had a thunderous first-half dunk, but aside from that it was all Iowa in the first 20 minutes. The Hawkeyes had a 22-point lead at the break after shooting 51.5 percent and hitting nine 3s in the first half. Iowa had a small 12-11 lead four minutes in, but the Hawkeyes exploded from there, outscoring Michigan State, 24-8, over the next 10 and a half minutes.

Peter Jok was 6-for-8 from the field, 3-for-3 from behind the arc and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line for 19 first-half points. Dom Uhl had 10 points at the break, meaning those two outscored the Spartans by four points by themselves. Michigan State also turned the ball over 14 times in the first 20 minutes, leading to 17 Iowa points.

The Hawkeyes shot pretty poorly after halftime, just 34.4 percent from the field and hitting just one triple. The Spartans turned the ball over just twice after halftime, leading to no more Iowa points. But the damage was already done, and Michigan State could only chip into the massive halftime lead by five points by game's end.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Hawkeyes gear right here]

Jok ended with 23 points to lead all scorers. Jarrod Uthoff had 15 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, Anthony Clemmons had 13 points, Uhl finished with 10 points and Mike Gesell had eight points and six assists.

Matt Costello led Michigan State with 15 points, coming a board away from a double-double with nine rebounds. Valentine had 14 points, while Bryn Forbes was 0-for-5 from the field and scored just two points on the night.

The win boosted Iowa to 13-3 on the season and a perfect 4-0 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes join the Indiana Hoosiers as the only undefeated teams during conference play. With a pair of victories over Michigan State, one on the road, and an away win over Purdue, no team looks as good as Iowa right now. Next up for the Hawkeyes is a Sunday game against Michigan.

Michigan State dropped to 16-2 overall and 3-2 in league play with the loss, both its defeats coming against Iowa. Currently ranked fourth in the AP poll, the Spartans become the latest highly ranked team to lose this week. No. 1 Kansas, No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 9 Duke, No. 17 Iowa State and No. 19 South Carolina have all fallen since the most recent poll was released Monday afternoon. Next up for Sparty is a Sunday trip to Wisconsin.

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

jeremy_larkin.jpg
USA TODAY

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

anderson.jpg
USA TODAY

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.