Big Ten

Illini hire Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood as next head basketball coach

Illini hire Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood as next head basketball coach

Illinois' coaching search has reached a rapid end.

The Fighting Illini announced Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood the program's newest head basketball coach Saturday, finding John Groce's successor just a week after his five-season tenure came to an end.

"I am excited to welcome Brad Underwood, his wife Susan and their three children to the Fighting Illini family," Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman said in the announcement. "In searching for a new coach, we were looking for a proven winner who would build upon our proud tradition while developing an unmistakable identity for Illinois basketball. Brad's teams play a fast, aggressive style and show unyielding toughness. They have a tremendous energy that I believe will ignite the Orange Krush and our fans to once again make State Farm Center one of the most intimidating venues in all of college basketball. Off the court, Brad builds strong, personal relationships with his student-athletes. His winning combination of strong Midwest values and tenacious work ethic are a perfect fit for our community and the Illini Nation."

Underwood just wrapped up his first season at Oklahoma State, taking over after three years at Stephen F. Austin, where he led the Lumberjacks to three straight NCAA tournament appearances.

The Cowboys were a No. 10 seed in this year's NCAA tournament, ousted Friday in a one-point loss to Illinois' Big Ten conferece-mate Michigan.

Underwood's Oklahoma State team ranked sixth nationally this season in scoring, averaging 85.7 points a game. The season before he took over, the Cowboys ranked 303rd nationally in scoring.

Underwood went 89-14 overall and 53-1 in conference games in his three seasons at Stephen F. Austin before posting a 20-13 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Big 12 play this season at Oklahoma State.

Prior to his days leading Stephen F. Austin, Underwood worked as a power-conference assistant at Kansas State and South Carolina under both Bob Huggins and Frank Martin. He also was an assistant coach at Western Illinois.

"Coaching basketball at the University of Illinois is a once-in-lifetime opportunity," Underwood said in the announcement. "The players, fans and administration at Oklahoma State have been absolutely incredible, and I want to thank them for the support they've given me and my family over the last year. However, during my time at Western Illinois, I always saw the Illinois coaching job as one of the truly best in the nation. I want to thank Josh Whitman for the opportunity to join the Fighting Illini family and look forward to working with him to build a championship program. I can't wait to get started with our team. Next season can't get here fast enough for me."

Whitman tweeted this picture out Saturday afternoon.

Illinois' season is not yet over, the team still alive in the NIT. The Illini play Boise State on Monday in Champaign.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.