Big Ten

Michael Jordan vs. the Big Ten: His Airness' college numbers against the B1G

michael-jordan-0217.png

Michael Jordan vs. the Big Ten: His Airness' college numbers against the B1G

Today marks the 53rd birthday of the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan.

Before MJ won six titles with the Bulls, he was a stud college player at North Carolina, where he was a member of a national championship team as a freshman and the national player of the year as a junior.

During his three seasons with the Tar Heels, Jordan rarely ran into Big Ten teams, but he did play a couple on the sport’s biggest stage. Twice during the NCAA tournament — as a sophomore and as a junior — Jordan squared off against Big Ten schools.

In the Sweet Sixteen of the 1983 NCAA tournament, Jordan’s North Carolina squad met Ohio State at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The Buckeyes had a slight halftime lead, but the Heels blitzed past them in the second half, outscoring them 35-21 to cruise to a 64-51 win and advance to the Elite Eight. His Airness finished with a game-high 17 points. going 5-for-15 from the field and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line. Jordan also grabbed seven rebounds in the win. Joe Concheck was the high man for Ohio State, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds.

After winning the national championship in 1982, the Heels didn’t repeat as champs, falling to Georgia in that Elite Eight game.

[MORE BIG TEN: Diamond Stone's actions vs. Badgers earn him one-game suspension from Terps]

In the Sweet Sixteen of the 1984 NCAA tournament, Jordan and North Carolina faced off against Indiana in what was the final game of MJ’s collegiate career. The Hoosiers were victorious by a 72-68 score. In his player of the year season, Jordan averaged 19.6 points per game, but against Indiana he was limited to just 13 points. Sam Perkins actually led the Heels with 26 points, but it was Indiana’s Steve Alford who had the biggest performance, scoring 27 points, going 9-for-13 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Like Jordan’s team the season before, the Hoosiers didn’t get much further, falling in their Elite Eight matchup against Virginia.

Over his three-year collegiate career, Jordan averaged 17.7 points per game. In two games against Big Ten teams in the NCAA tournament, Jordan averaged 15 points per game.

But what about teams that were yet to join the Big Ten when Jordan and the Heels played them?

Being in the ACC, North Carolina matched up against Maryland twice on an annual basis, meaning MJ played the Terps six times. The Heels topped the Terps in all but one of the six regular-season meetings, the only win for Maryland coming in a 106-94 decision in College Park during Jordan’s sophomore season. Jordan averaged 18.7 points per game against the Terps in his career.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Terps gear right here]

Here are MJ's game-by-game scoring numbers in his career against Maryland (numbers found at basketball-reference.com):

Date Location Final score Jordan points
Jan. 6, 1982 College Park 66-50, North Carolina 12
Feb. 11, 1982 Chapel Hill 59-56, North Carolina 12
Jan. 12, 1983 Chapel Hill 72-71, North Carolina 17
Feb. 16, 1983 College Park 106-94, Maryland 25
Jan. 12, 1984 College Park 74-62, North Carolina 21
Feb. 19, 1984 Chapel Hill 78-63, North Carolina 25

Jordan also saw Rutgers multiple times, playing non-conference regular-season games against the Scarlet Knights in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. North Carolina won those two games by a combined 145-105 score. In 1981, Jordan dropped 15 points on the Knights, but a year later he scored only eight points, matching his lowest scoring output of that season.

During the national-championship season of 1981-82, North Carolina played a non-conference regular-season game against Penn State, the Heels beating the Nittany Lions, 56-50, in overtime. Jordan scored only eight points in that game.

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

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.