Big Ten

Check out Big Ten/Big East matchups in Gavitt Tipoff Games

b1g-logo-0219.png

Check out Big Ten/Big East matchups in Gavitt Tipoff Games

A few years back, an in-season showdown between the Big Ten and Big East conferences would've been awesome.

Now, it's another part of the Big Ten's East Coast outreach, as the depleted Big East (many of its former marquee teams have bolted for the ACC) doesn't provide much in the way of exciting non-conference matchups.

The conferences announced the schedule for next season's Gavitt Tipoff Games, the already announced early season event that will pit a little more than half the Big Ten against eight teams from the remade Big East (Butler and Seton Hall won't participate in the event).

The games don't generate much excitement, meaning that the Big Ten/ACC Challenge will safely retain its crown as the early season event Big Ten basketball fans look forward to the most.

[MORE BIG TEN: Caris LeVert to return to Michigan for senior season]

Here are the matchups:

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Georgetown at Maryland. This one's actually pretty interesting, given the two school's geographic proximity. The Terps haven't met the Hoyas since the 2008-09 season, but there ought to be some solid buzz around this game in the Washington, D.C., area.

DePaul at Penn State. Surely one of the least looked-forward-to games of the event, this game pits one of the Big East's worst teams against one of the Big Ten's worst teams.

Nebraska at Villanova. The Huskers disappointed mightily this past season following a fourth-place Big Ten finish in 2013 and a trip to the NCAA tournament, and most of the team's roster won't be returning next season. Villanova is a perennial power fresh off a No. 1 seed in the recently concluded NCAA tournament. Looking kind of one sided.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini bolster frontcourt with Charlotte transfer Mike Thorne Jr.]

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Illinois at Providence. The Illini have a lot to prove next season following a second straight campaign without an NCAA tournament appearance. Providence has gone to each of the last two Big Dances, though it hasn't won a game. The last time these two met was 2003, a 19-point loss for the Illini in the Jimmy V Classic.

Thursday, Nov. 19

Creighton at Indiana. The Hoosiers and Bluejays haven't played since the mid-1970s. Indiana squeaked into the NCAA tournament this past season, bounced by Wichita State. Creighton missed the Big Dance after three straight appearances, struggling to maintain success after the graduation of Doug McDermott.

Iowa at Marquette. The Hawkeyes will have a lot to replace after the offseason departures of Aaron White and Gabriel Olaseni, while the Golden Eagles welcome in a highly regarded recruiting class.

Rutgers at St. John's. Another one that could generate some regional buzz. The Scarlet Knights and Red Storm — a lot of red in this matchup — played last just in 2012-13. Rutgers was in the Big East from 1995 to 2013, a long period of time where the Knights didn't finish higher than fifth place. St. John's welcomes in new head coach Chris Mullin, who played on the Dream Team.

[MORE BIG TEN: Huskers' Terran Petteway to declare for NBA Draft]

Friday, Nov. 20

Xavier at Michigan. The Wolverines are expected to be a Big Ten contender next season once they get Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton Jr. and Spike Albrecht back to full strength. These two haven't met since 1989, when Michigan dispatched of Xavier for the first victory on the road to a national-championship win in that season's NCAA tournament.

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.