Big Ten

No. 3 Terps lead six Big Ten teams in preseason AP top 25

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No. 3 Terps lead six Big Ten teams in preseason AP top 25

The preseason top 25 has a distinct Big Ten flavor.

Six of the conference's 14 teams — that's nearly half to you math whizzes out there — landed a spot in the preseason AP poll when it was released Monday afternoon.

Maryland is the No. 3 team in the country, the highest-ranked squad from the Big Ten. The Terps have unbelievably high expectations thanks to a loaded roster that includes Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Melo Trimble, as well as fellow returning star Jake Layman. Plus, Mark Turgeon added highly rated freshman Diamond Stone and Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon to an already loaded supporting cast. It's expected to be a big season for the Terps, with many projecting them as a Final Four team. A preseason No. 3 ranking confirms those expectations.

Michigan State comes in next at No. 13. The Spartans were a Final Four team last season and should again be right in the thick of things for a Big Ten championship behind team leader Denzel Valentine.

Indiana is ranked No. 15 in the country and also has high expectations with almost all of last season's impact players back in the fold. Yogi Ferrell has been among the Big Ten's best for the past two seasons and figures to turn in another solid campaign.

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

Wisconsin, last season's national runner-up, is expected to take a step back after losing Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker to the NBA along with starting guards Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson. But the pollsters think enough of Bo Ryan's Badgers to have them at No. 17 in the country. Returners Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig have a lot to do with that.

Purdue came in at No. 23, and that ranking could get much higher depending on how well the Boilermakers' loaded roster performs. The front court is menacing behind a pair of seven-footers in A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas, plus big-time freshman Caleb Swanigan. And there are guards who can defend and score with the best of them, including last season's Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Rapheal Davis.

Michigan rounds out the conference's ranked teams at No. 25. It was a disappointing campaign for the Wolverines a season ago as star guards Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton were both sidelined most of the season with injuries. But both are back this season, as is Zak Irvin and a bevy of younger players who got valuable experience last season.

Iowa also received votes in the preseason poll.

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.