Big Ten

Five Big Ten teams ranked in last AP poll before NCAA tournament

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Five Big Ten teams ranked in last AP poll before NCAA tournament

The Big Ten landed seven teams in the NCAA tournament field, and five of those teams were ranked in the AP top 25 when the latest poll was released Monday.

Michigan State remained the No. 2 team in the country following its win in the Big Ten Tournament over the weekend. Despite that high ranking from media voters, though — including a pair of No. 1 votes — the selection committee didn't see the Spartans as one of the top four teams in the country, giving them a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Michigan State starts NCAA tournament play Friday against Middle Tennessee State.

Big Ten Tournament runner up Purdue was the next highest-ranked team in the AP poll, coming in at No. 12, up one spot from last week. The Boilermakers impressed during their three-game stay in Indy. They received a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament and begin play Thursday against Little Rock.

Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana was bounced in its first and only game of the conference tournament, upset by Michigan. That sent the Hoosiers down four spots in this week's poll to No. 14. Indiana is a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, playing Chattanooga on Thursday.

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

Maryland stayed the No. 18 team in the country in this week's AP poll. The Terps defeated Nebraska but lost to eventual champion Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament. They are a No. 5 seed, as well, in the NCAA tournament and begin play Friday against South Dakota State.

Finally, Iowa is the No. 25 team in the AP top 25, down five spots from last week after getting embarrassed in an upset loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament, the third straight first-game exit from the conference tournament for the Hawkeyes. Iowa is a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament and begins play Friday against Temple.

The other two Big Ten teams in the NCAA tournament, Wisconsin and Michigan, were not ranked in this week's poll.

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.