Big Ten

The NCAA tournament bracket is out, with seven Big Ten teams in the field

The NCAA tournament bracket is out, with seven Big Ten teams in the field

WASHINGTON — Welcome to the Madness.

The NCAA tournament bracket was revealed on Selection Sunday, and the Big Ten has seven teams in the field of 68.

Most notable is the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for Northwestern, but after a shaky-at-times regular season for the league, eye-catching runs in this week's Big Ten Tournament by Michigan and Wisconsin have suddenly made the conference's chances of competing for a national championship look a little bit better.

Big Ten regular-season champion Purdue earned the highest seed of any team in the conference. The Boilermakers are the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region.

Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan ended up as the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, while runner-up Wisconsin is the No. 8 seed in the East Region.

The aforementioned Wildcats, who celebrated wildly at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, are the No. 8 seed in the West Region.

Three other teams made the field. Minnesota, which has flipped an 8-23 record from a season ago to a 24-9 mark heading into the Big Dance, is the No. 5 seed in the South Region. Maryland is the No. 6 seed in the West Region, and Michigan State is the No. 9 seed in the Midwest Region.

Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, three Big Ten teams some prognosticators considered to be on the bubble heading into championship week, all missed the cut.

The specific team-by-team matchups for the septet of Big Ten squads are included below along with the full NCAA tournament bracket.

East Region

No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech, Thursday in Buffalo

Midwest Region

No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Vermont, Thursday in Milwaukee

No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State, Friday in Indianapolis

No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Miami, Friday in Tulsa

South Region

No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee, Thursday in Milwaukee

West Region

No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier, Thursday in Orlando

No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt, Thursday in Salt Lake City

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

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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

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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.