Big Ten

Miles Bridges makes return to Michigan State official as Spartans become instant title contender

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USA TODAY

Miles Bridges makes return to Michigan State official as Spartans become instant title contender

It's official: Miles Bridges is coming back to East Lansing and Michigan State is a national-title contender.

After it was reported Wednesday that the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year was leaning toward a return to college for his sophomore season, Bridges made things official Thursday, announcing a return that instantaneously made Tom Izzo's team one of the favorites to win next season's national championship.

Bridges was expected to be selected early in the first round of the NBA Draft after a fabulous freshman campaign, ranked as the 11th-best draft prospect by Draft Express.

But he's no longer in that pool after announcing that he's coming back for a shot at a title with the rest of Izzo's highly touted recruiting class from a year ago. Bridges is sticking around with fellow sophomores-to-be Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford in what should be the preseason-favorite lineup in the Big Ten.

Bridges ranked in the top six in the conference in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. His 56 made 3-pointers and 43 blocked shots also ranked among the league leaders.

Bridges will be the centerpiece of a loaded roster for Izzo & Co. In addition to the return of that four-man 2016 class of Bridges, Ward, Winston and Langford, Michigan State will also welcome back veterans Tum Tum Nairn Jr., Matt McQuaid, Gavin Schilling and Kenny Goins and welcome in one of the highest-rated recruits in the country in power forward Jaren Jackson.

In other words, there will be few teams in the country that can match the combination of talent and experience.

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.