Big Ten

Illini, DePaul to play for first time in 60 years as part of November's Gavitt Tipoff Games

Illini, DePaul to play for first time in 60 years as part of November's Gavitt Tipoff Games

Illinois and DePaul haven't played since 1957. Sixty years later, the drought in this series is over.

The Fighting Illini will battle the Blue Demons in an intrastate showdown on Friday, Nov. 18, as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, the annual event pitting Big Ten squads against teams from the Big East.

This game between the Illini and Demons, a pair of Land of Lincoln programs with new reasons to be excited, will surely be the highlight of the eight-game event for Chicago-area fans. The two programs have played 18 times but zero since a 75-70 win for the orange and blue in 1957.

Illinois will be playing in one of its first games under new head coach Brad Underwood, hired this spring to replace John Groce, who was fired after a largely unsuccessful five-year tenure in Champaign. Underwood is off to a good start, earning a commitment from the state's Mr. Basketball, Mark Smith.

DePaul, meanwhile, has its own momentum following a recent commitment from Tyger Campbell,  a five-star recruit in the Class of 2018.

The rest of the Gavitt Tipoff Games schedule has plenty of intriguing matchups, as well, including Northwestern playing host to Creighton at Allstate Arena, the Wildcats' temporary home for the 2017-18 season while Welsh-Ryan Arena undergoes a complete renovation.

Take a look at the full slate below:

Monday, Nov. 13
Minnesota at Providence

Tuesday, Nov. 14
Purdue at Marquette

Wednesday, Nov. 15
Butler at Maryland
Creighton at Northwestern
Indiana at Seton Hall

Thursday, Nov. 16
Nebraska at St. John’s
Xavier at Wisconsin

Friday, Nov. 17
DePaul at Illinois

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.