Big Ten

Indiana's top four scorers Blackmon, Johnson, Bryant, Anunoby all declare for NBA Draft

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AP

Indiana's top four scorers Blackmon, Johnson, Bryant, Anunoby all declare for NBA Draft

It's possible Archie Miller will be without Indiana's four best players when he starts his first season helming the Hoosiers this fall.

The program announced Tuesday that James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby have all declared for the NBA Draft.

Blackmon, Johnson and Bryant will not hire agents, taking advantage of rules allowing student-athletes to go through workouts and the NBA combine, receiving as much information as possible before making a final decision to head to the professional ranks. It's possible both Bryant and Blackmon could be back in cream and crimson for Miller's first campaign. Anunoby will hire an agent, ending his college career.

"These four young men all have unique talents, and we support them in their decisions," Miller said in the announcement. "We congratulate OG and hope that James, Robert and Thomas can benefit from this and make the best decision that will have a lifelong impact. As the semester winds down, we will continue to help them in any way with our priority being they continue their commitment to their academics and all eventually become Indiana University graduates."

Anunoby is projected as a first-round pick by Draft Express, the No. 16 selection in that site's latest mock draft. Draft Express also has Bryant being selected, projected as a second-round pick.

The two juniors could both return to Bloomington — and so too could Bryant, if he so chooses — not projected as first- or second-round choices.

But in the event that all four leave for professional careers, it could be a real bumpy ride for Miller in his first season.

The quartet combined to average more than 53 points a game last season, more than 67 percent of the team's 79.7 points per game. All four averaged double figures on the campaign, a disappointing one that saw Indiana miss the NCAA tournament just one season after winning the Big Ten regular-season championship.

Bryant and Johnson played in all 34 games, but Anunoby and Blackmon were the two biggest casualties in an injury-influenced season for the Hoosiers. Anunoby missed 18 games, and Blackmon missed four.

Anunoby has shown the most athletic ability of the four, showing up on one highlight reel after another with his thunderous dunks and shot blocks in his two seasons. Last year he averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a game.

"I have enjoyed my time at Indiana, and after thinking this over with my family, I believe this is the best decision for me personally," Anunoby said in the announcement. "I will always be grateful to coach (Tom) Crean, his staff and especially my teammates for two of the best years of my life. I wish coach Miller and the program the best of luck in the future."

Bryant turned heads with a fabulous freshman campaign in 2015-16 and continued this past season as the team's leading rebounder, averaging 6.6 boards a game. Always one to wear his emotions on his sleeve, Bryant averaged 12.6 points a game as a sophomore.

"I'm going to put all my energy in getting the most out of this opportunity and see what the best decision will be for my future," Bryant said in the announcement. "I love IU and my teammates, but having the opportunity to play basketball for a living has always been my dream."

Blackmon averaged 15.7 points per game as one of the Big Ten's best freshman in 2014-15 before missing all but 13 games of the 2015-16 campaign with a season-ending injury. But he returned to his high-scoring ways, leading the Hoosiers with 17 points per game this past season. He hit 42.3 percent of his 3-point attempts.

"My ultimate goal has always been to play professionally, and this is an opportunity I want to take advantage of," Blackmon said in the announcement. "This is an important process, and I am excited to take part in it."

Johnson has made 87 starts in his Indiana career and ranked second on the Hoosiers with 12.8 points per game and 2.5 assists per game.

"I'm excited to go through this process and use this as a learning experience," Johnson said in the announcement. "Every player in college has the goal to compete at the highest level, and I'm looking forward to what the future may hold."

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.

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 12 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Oklahoma (10-1)

Still the team with the best resume in the country, no one can compete with OU’s wins over TCU, Ohio State and Oklahoma State, the latter two coming away from Norman. Baker Mayfield might not be a choir boy, but he’s the best player in the nation.

2. Miami (10-0)

You might think that being down 28-14 to Virginia in the second half was cringe-worthy, but the Canes made up for things by storming back with 30 unanswered points. Now they finally have to go away from South Florida for the first time since almost losing to North Carolina last month.

3. Alabama (11-0)

Tide gonna roll. But this Cupcake Weekend in the SEC has got to stop. While teams in other conferences are slugging it out against rivals, Bama gets to take a day off against Mercer? It’s just not fair. Also, Bama’s schedule is so soft, there’s no way it deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country.

4. Georgia (10-1)

The Dawgs should wrap an 11-1 regular season this weekend against Georgia Tech. But the SEC title game presents a kind of no-win scenario: undefeated Alabama or Auburn, who throttled Georgia earlier this month.

5. Wisconsin (11-0)

You didn’t need Wisconsin to do what it did to Iowa and Michigan to prove it had one of the best defenses in the country — but that sure didn’t help. Stockpiling national love with those two wins, a win in the Big Ten title game figures to make the Badgers a Playoff lock.

6. Clemson (10-1)

Why’d Kelly Bryant have to go and get hurt for that Syracuse game? The Tigers would be No. 1 and the undisputed best team in the country. Still, though, a win over Miami in the ACC title game ought to get the champs back into the Playoff.

7. Auburn (9-2)

Great job pounding Louisiana-Monroe, Tigers. You shall not escape the wrath over Cupcake Weekend in the SEC. That dumb game aside, Auburn and Alabama will meet in a titanic Iron Bowl this weekend with a trip to the SEC title game on the line — and perhaps a Playoff spot, as well.

8. Ohio State (9-2)

Not that pummeling Illinois is any big deal, but the Buckeyes are still alive in this thing and look like a team capable of making some Playoff noise. First, Ohio State has to win The Game and then the Big Ten title game to knock out undefeated Wisconsin.

9. Notre Dame (9-2)

Out of the Playoff chase thanks to that loss at Miami, Notre Dame squeaked by Navy this past weekend. Hope a New Year’s Six bowl game is enough for the Irish. We know it’s not enough for those ND fans. So maybe join a conference? Just saying.

10. TCU (9-2)

The Frogs can still make their mark on the Playoff race, even if they can’t get in themselves. The Big 12 title game will almost surely be TCU’s attempt at revenge on Oklahoma. Unfortunately, if revenge does come, it will probably cannibalize the conference’s Playoff hopes, too.

11. Penn State (9-2)

Why Penn State gave up 44 points to Nebraska, I do not know. What I do know is that probably no one cared because Penn State is going to go down as the most inconsequential 10-2 team of all-time. Such a bummer considering the preseason expectations for both the team and Saquon Barkley.

12. USC (10-2)

Yeah, I guess there’s still a way for USC to make the Playoff, but it’s hard to imagine that madness unfolding, even in the oft-mad college football. The Trojans get the winner of the Apple Cup in the Pac-12 title game.

13. UCF (10-0)

Finally we get our much-anticipated UCF-USF showdown this weekend. Make it count, Knights. This is probably gonna be Scott Frost’s last regular-season game in Orlando.

14. Washington (9-2)

It’s hard to say who has the edge in the Apple Cup, but certainly the stakes are high, with the winner going off to play USC in the Pac-12 title game. Can either team make the Playoff? Well, probably not, no.

15. Washington State (9-2)

Is this it for Mike Leach on The Palouse? He could be a hot candidate this offseason and leave for perceived greener pastures. Winning the Apple Cup would go a long way toward making that happen.

16. Mississippi State (8-3)

A win in the Egg Bowl means a 9-3 regular season for the Bulldogs with their three losses coming against three top-10 teams.

17. Oklahoma State (8-3)

Poor Okie State has been so good all year and had two losses to the two best teams in its conference, and then it went and lost to K-State for some ridiculous reason. The Mullet deserved better in 2017.

18. Northwestern (8-3)

The Cats are the fourth-best team in the Big Ten, simple as that, with wins over Michigan State and Iowa and conference losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. As commendable an effort as you’ll find in a highly competitive league. Plus, Fitz’s team is on a six-game win streak that could end up extending to eight.

19. Stanford (8-3)

Already with a win over Washington, Stanford could close the regular season with two wins over top-10 teams in its final three games. Also Bryce Love is back in the groove after back-to-back 100-yard games.

20. Memphis (9-1)

The Tigers have lost just one game all season, to the best Group of Five team out there. Heck of a season by Memphis.

21. Michigan State (8-3)

A 17-7 win over Maryland couldn't have been the most exciting way for anyone to spend their weekend. Sparty's had a mighty fine season, though, considering how badly things went in 2016.

22. LSU (8-3)

The SEC has seemingly gotten increasingly better as the year has progressed, with LSU and Mississippi State making for a solid-enough middle tier. But remember when LSU lost to Troy? That wasn’t good.

23. South Florida (9-1)

If not for that loss to Houston, USF’s showdown with UCF this weekend would be for Group of Five supremacy. Even without that, though, this should be a highly entertaining affair.

24. Virginia Tech (8-3)

The Hokies have a chance to salvage their tumble at the close of the season with a win at Virginia. But given how well the Cavs played at Miami this past weekend, a VT win is no sure thing.

25. Iowa State (7-4)

I understand the math and all, but can't the Big 12 just suspend its rules and send Iowa State to the title game? We all want to see the OU-ISU rematch. Why are you preventing us from being happy, Big 12?