Big Ten

Big Ten leads college basketball in attendance ... again

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Big Ten leads college basketball in attendance ... again

The Big Ten is the most-attended basketball conference in America. Again.

The NCAA released the attendance figures for the 2014-15 season on Monday, and the Big Ten paced all conferences by drawing 3,195,137 fans to its 250 men's basketball games. It's the 39th consecutive season in which the Big Ten has led the way nationally. The big number outshone the ACC, which despite holding 20 more games drew 3,069,296 fans and averaged more than a thousand fewer fans per game.

The Big Ten ranked second when it came to fans at the conference tournament, with the ACC taking that top distinction. A total of 141,159 fans took in the ACC tourney, while the Big Ten Tournament drew 118,496 fans to the United Center.

Big Ten teams also dominated the team rankings, with eight — more than half the conference — ranking in the top 25 when it came to the number of fans per game.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini announce five non-conference games to be played in Springfield]

Wisconsin was fifth in the country, averaging 17,279. The Badgers drew 276,464 fans to their 16 home games. Indiana drew more fans than Wisconsin overall, with 309,477 taking in 19 home games. The Hoosiers averaged 16,288 per game, good for eighth in the country. Nebraska also made the top 10, ranking 10th with a 15,569 average.

Michigan State was 14th, Illinois was 15th, Ohio State was 16th, Iowa was 20th and Maryland was 25th.

Michigan came in at No. 28, Minnesota was No. 29 and Purdue was No. 32. The remaining three Big Ten teams — Penn State, Northwestern and Rutgers — ranked 56th, 72nd and 91st, respectively. Interestingly, though, Penn State had the the fifth-largest increase in attendance in the country, see a 1,787-fan increase per game. Rutgers was 15th on that list.

Check out all the data the NCAA released right here.

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

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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

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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.