Big Ten

Hoosiers blow out Chattanooga to advance in NCAA tournament

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Hoosiers blow out Chattanooga to advance in NCAA tournament

After an embarrassing first-game exit from the Big Ten Tournament last week, Indiana made sure its stay in the NCAA tournament will last a little longer.

The Hoosiers absolutely routed Chattanooga, 99-74, avoiding the upsets that hit a couple other No. 5 seeds on the first day of the NCAA tournament and advancing to the Round of 32, where they could see regional foe Kentucky.

Indiana was astounding shooting the ball, posting a sterling 64.9-percent mark from the field and going 10-for-16 from 3-point range. Five Hoosiers scored in double figures, led by the sensational evening for Yogi Ferrell, who recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists.

The Hoosiers didn’t exactly break away from the Mocs early, with Chattanooga hanging around and as close as three as late as four minutes remaining before halftime. But Indiana blitzed from a 33-30 score with 13 of the final 20 points in the half and led by nine at the break.

After shooting 60.7 percent over the first 20 minutes, the Hoosiers cranked it up in the second half, running away and hiding from Chattanooga over the final 20 minutes. Indiana shot a jaw-dropping 69 percent from the field in the second half and outscored Chattanooga, 53-37, after halftime.

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

The Hoosiers scored 21 points off 15 Mocs turnovers and won the rebounding battles, 30-24.

Ferrell’s 20 points gave him his 10th 20-point performance of the season, and his double-double was his first of the year. He also hit four 3-pointers. Joining Ferrell in double figures OG Anunoby (14), Thomas Bryant (13), Troy Williams (12) and Max Bielfeldt (10). Nick Zeisloft had nine points, all coming on a trio of made 3s.

The win sends Indiana on to the Round of 32, where it could meet Kentucky. Despite being located just three hours apart, the two teams haven’t played since 2012, an NCAA tournament game won by the Wildcats. The two teams played earlier that season in Bloomington, the last regular-season meeting between the schools. The teams met annually since 1969 in a series that dates back to 1924. But it’s been a few years. Kentucky holds a 32-24 edge in the series.

Thursday’s win was Indiana’s first in the NCAA tournament since 2013. Last year, the Hoosiers were eliminated in the first round by Wichita State, and they missed the Big Dance altogether in 2014.

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.