A portion of the Illini's 2015-16 non-conference schedule was released Monday afternoon. But don't expect to see any of these games in Champaign.
As you might remember, the Illini will be playing five of their non-conference home games in Springfield this season as the State Farm Center renovations are wrapped up back on campus. Springfield's Prairie Capital Convention Center will play host to four regular-season games and one exhibition game.
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Here's the schedule:
— Nov. 8: Illini vs. Illinois-Springfield (exhibition)
— Nov. 13: Illini vs. North Florida
— Nov. 15: Illini vs. North Dakota State
— Nov. 21: Illini vs. Chattanooga
— Nov. 23: Illini vs. Chicago State
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There isn't much to be excited about as far as that small group of matchups goes, however two of those teams — North Florida and North Dakota State — were in the NCAA tournament this past spring.
The other games on the Illini's non-conference slate that have been announced include a Nov. 18 road trip to Providence and a Thanksgiving-weekend trip to the Emerald Coast Classic in Destin, Fla. That event will also feature Iowa State, Virginia Tech and UAB.
The renovated State Farm Center will host its first game on Dec. 2 as Illinois hosts Notre Dame as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
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 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.