Big Ten

Hoosiers blown out of NCAA tournament as North Carolina hits century mark

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Hoosiers blown out of NCAA tournament as North Carolina hits century mark

Indiana made a habit of dropping huge point total on opponents this season. But in its final game of the year, it got to feel what that was like.

North Carolina's offense was unstoppable Friday, so terrific that it ended Indiana's season pretty early on in the teams' Sweet Sixteen matchup. The No. 1-seeded Tar Heels passed the century mark and scored more points against the Hoosiers than any team has all season, running away with a 101-86 decision and a ticket to the Elite Eight.

The Heels shot a scorching 62.1 percent from the field in the first half and 51.6 percent on the game, building a lead as big as 22 in the second half in the rout.

With the Hoosiers getting torched on the defensive end, a lack of offensive success made matters worse. Indiana shot just 40.6 percent in the first half, when Carolina built its double-digit lead, and finished the game shooting at a 41-percent clip.

Carolina seemingly couldn't miss in the first half. An Indiana defense that showed it was capable of surrendering big point totals at times this season showed up again at the worst possible time, allowing 52 first-half points. The Tar Heels, not a good 3-point shooting team, was a near-perfect 7-for-8 from behind the arc. Marcus Paige was particularly deadly early, hitting his first four 3-point attempts and piling up 12 points in the game's first five minutes. Paige and Justin jackson combined for 27 first-half points for the Heels. Carolina built a lead as big as 16 in the first half, with only five straight points to end the half preventing Indiana from heading to halftime with a monstrous deficit.

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

Going along with those defensive struggles — which were certainly aided by the No. 1-seeded Carolina and its dynamite offense — Indiana wasn't its usual sharp-shooting self on the offensive end, either. The Hoosiers, one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, was just 4-for-12 from 3-point range.

The second half was more of the same, the Hoosiers never posing much of a threat. They did hit nine more 3-pointers after halftime, but the lead was merely dented, never threatened.

In his final game as an Indiana player, Yogi Ferrell scored a game-high 25 points. Troy Williams poured in 21 points, Max Bielfeldt had 15 points off the bench and Thomas Bryant added 12.

Paige finished with 21 points, hitting six 3s on the night. Carolina was red hot from 3-point range overall, going 11-for-20 from deep.

The Hoosiers were the final Big Ten team standing after Maryland lost to Kansas on Thursday and Wisconsin lost to Notre Dame earlier Friday. Indiana was the conference's regular-season champion and lost for just the second time in its final nine games.

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.