Both Land of Lincoln Big Ten basketball teams in the same Chicago arena on the same day? Sounds like a good idea.
According to a report from the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, Illinois and Northwestern are close to a deal that would set up a doubleheader at the United Center next December.
According to Greenstein, Northwestern would play Dayton and Illinois would play BYU at the home of the Bulls and Blackhawks.
The full day of Big Ten hoops at the UC makes total sense after attendance was unimpressive at the Illini's game there last weekend, with an announced crowd of a little more than 5,000 watching Illinois take on one-win UIC.
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Illinois plays at the UC regularly, though the opponents haven't been as big of draws as they once were. The Illini have hosted the likes of Arizona, UCLA, Duke and Kansas on the West Side in the past, though the last seven regular-season games there for Illinois have come against the likes of UIC, UNLV, Georgia, Auburn and Oregon.
Northwestern hasn't played a regular-season game at the United Center since playing Illinois there in 2003.
BYU and Dayton aren't exactly Duke and Kansas — two teams that along with Michigan State and Kentucky play at the United Center every other season as part of the Champions Classic — but the Cougars are a perennial NCAA tournament team, making the Big Dance in eight of the last nine seasons, and Dayton has made back-to-back tourney appearances with 53 combined wins in the past two seasons.
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 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.