Big Ten

Illini reportedly pursuing transfers from Louisiana Tech, Virginia Tech

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Illini reportedly pursuing transfers from Louisiana Tech, Virginia Tech

Illinois is reportedly in pursuit of a pair of transfers.

The Illini are reportedly one of seven teams in the running for Merrill Holden, a Chicago native who spent the past two seasons at Louisiana Tech, according to a report from ESPN's Jeff Goodman.

Holden, a 6-foot-8 forward, spent one season at a community college before spending the past two years at Louisiana Tech. He made 16 starts last season as a junior, averaging 7.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 22.4 minutes a game.

Holden missed the first 10 games of the season but averaged 10.7 points a game during a 13-game stretch from mid-January through the end of February, posting his lone double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds in a win over North Texas.

Additionally, Jalen Hudson, who spent the past two seasons with the Hokies before being granted his release about a week ago, has been contacted by the Illini and 11 other teams according to another report from Goodman.

Hudson, a 5-foot-6 guard, averaged 7.9 points and two rebounds a game in 19.6 minutes a game last season. His 3-point shooting improved dramatically from his freshman season to his sophomore season, growing from 28.3 percent to 35.6 percent. But his overall shooting numbers took a big hit, dropping from 47.9 percent as a freshman to 39.5 percent as a sophomore.

Hudson had a few huge scoring performances last season, putting up 23 points in a win over North Carolina State, scoring 27 points in a loss to Louisville and dropping a season-high 28 points in a win over Princeton in the NIT.

Illinois is facing plenty of roster uncertainty heading into next season. The team is waiting to see if Mike Thorne Jr. will earn a medical redshirt, and Leron Black, Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate are all facing legal situations and remain indefinitely suspended.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


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.