Big Ten

'I'm back!' Tim Miles gets post-elimination vote of confidence from Nebraska AD Shawn Eichorst


'I'm back!' Tim Miles gets post-elimination vote of confidence from Nebraska AD Shawn Eichorst

WASHINGTON — Minutes after Nebraska was eliminated on Day 1 of the Big Ten Tournament, Huskers athletics director Shawn Eichorst sent a tweet.

Eichorst finally gave a vote of confidence to head basketball coach Tim Miles, who has faced questions about his job status during the final stages of this season.

Miles' response?

"I'm back!" Miles said.

The head coach was asked about Eichorst's social-media support minutes after his team's season came to an end with an overtime loss to Penn State, which outscored Nebraska 16-7 in the extra period. The Huskers shot an ugly 34.2 percent from the field in the loss and got a less-than-stellar performance from all-conference guard Tai Webster, who scored 12 points — just two after halftime — and fouled out early in overtime.

The "I'm back!" answer was classic Miles, publicly the funniest of the Big Ten basketball coaches. But what he's been dealing with in recent weeks has been anything but humorous.

Including Wednesday's loss in Washington, Nebraska finished the season on a five-game losing streak, all but this most-recent defeat coming by big margins. The Huskers lost their final four regular-season games by 16, 16, 15 and 36, that blowout loss to Wisconsin in the regular-season finale the worst home loss Nebraska has ever had.

Remember when Nebraska had a 3-0 start to conference play? After that, the Huskers cratered and won just three more times the rest of the season.

It's all part of a continuing losing trend for Nebrasketball, which in five seasons under Miles has finished better than 10th in the Big Ten standings just once. The last three seasons have seen a pair of 12th-place finishes.

But while all that would seem to point to a need for a change in Lincoln, that couldn't be further from the truth. Eichorst's vote of confidence was a welcome sign for those who have noticed the recruiting successes Miles has had — and for all the Husker fans with whom he's quite popular.

"He and I talked over the last few weeks," Miles explained. "There was no doubt that he was with me and supporting me. I knew he would probably do something after the season in his own way. He's a man that believes in us, supports us. Even when we were struggling, he wouldn't waver. Although the media has a field day with it, I guess they're just bored. He's been there. I'm going to come through for him. We're going to show him his faith in us is justified."

Lincoln is no easy place to draw recruits to, and Miles' personality coupled with a new arena has managed to do just that. Not only have recruits bought what Miles is selling, so too have fans, making Pinnacle Bank Arena one of the better environments in the conference.

So while Eichorst's public backing might have been a bit overdue, it's hardly misplaced.

Now it's time for Miles to do what he said and reward Eichorst's support.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


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


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.