For the first time this decade and just the second time since the end of the 1960s, Northwestern is ranked in the AP poll.
The surging Wildcats, who look to be on their way to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, entered the top-25 rankings at No. 25 when the latest poll was released Monday.
It's the team's first ranking since a brief one-week stint at No. 25 back in the 2009-10 season. You have to go all the way back to 1968-69 for the previous top-25 ranking in the AP poll, which lasted three weeks. The Cats got as high as No. 12 that season.
Chris Collins' team is on a six-game winning streak after Sunday night's victory over Indiana. It's the program's first six-game winning streak during Big Ten play since 1933 and the first time the Cats have had a 7-2 record in conference play since 1938.
At 18-4 overall and sitting alone in third place in the Big Ten standings, Northwestern figures to be on its way to receiving that elusive invite to the Big Dance. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Cats as a No. 7 seed in his latest bracket projection.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Wisconsin remained the conference's highest-ranked team, checking in at No. 10 after narrowly escaping Madison Square Garden with an overtime win over Rutgers on Saturday. Maryland moved up to No. 17 after beating Minnesota on Saturday. And Purdue checks in at No. 23 following an upset loss Sunday at Nebraska.
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 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.