Big Ten

Five Big Ten teams ranked in preseason AP poll, with four in top 15

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Five Big Ten teams ranked in preseason AP poll, with four in top 15

Five Big Ten teams were in the top 25 when the preseason edition of the AP poll was released Monday.

Wisconsin was the highest ranked of the group at No. 9 and joined by Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue in the top 15.

The Badgers are the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten, returning the entire roster from last season, including stars Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ. Greg Gard enters his first full season as head coach after doing a terrific job taking over for the retiring Bo Ryan midway through last year.

The Hoosiers, ranked No. 11, lost star point guard Yogi Ferrell but return their own big three with Thomas Bryant, James Blackmon Jr. and OG Anunoby under Tom Crean after winning the regular-season league championship last season and making a run to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Spartans, ranked No. 12, seemed to be returning a strong group to pair with one of the country's best recruiting classes, but injuries have decimated the Michigan State frontcourt in the preseason, with big man Gavin Schilling and transfer Ben Carter both suffering significant injuries. The freshmen come with a lot of hype, but the Spartans have an immense challenge in trying to weather those injuries.

The Boilermakers, ranked No. 15, bring back stars Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards, and the combo has high hopes in West Lafayette. Purdue was embarrassingly bounced from the NCAA tournament in the first round this past season, but Matt Painter is looking to follow up on what was his fourth season of at least 26 wins.

Mark Turgeon's Maryland Terrapins were ranked at No. 25 in the poll. After last year's at times crushingly high expectations, Melo Trimble is the team's lone returning starter, and Turgeon has a tough task in replacing all that departed talent.

Ohio State and Michigan also received votes.

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.