Big Ten

Scottie Lindsey's three big games in D.C. bode well for Northwestern in NCAA tournament

Scottie Lindsey's three big games in D.C. bode well for Northwestern in NCAA tournament

SALT LAKE CITY — Scottie Lindsey is back.

Yeah, he's been back on the floor for a while now after a four-game, illness-induced absence at the beginning of February. But after going three weeks without any exercise, Northwestern's one-time leading scorer finally feels back to normal after a stellar trio of games at the Big Ten Tournament last week in Washington.

"I think Washington helped me get my conditioning back and my legs back, get my rhythm back, my shot back," Lindsey said Wednesday, a day before the Wildcats' first-ever NCAA tournament game. "It was definitely a good experience for me in Washington."

Getting Lindsey back to what he was doing earlier in the season is key for the Cats if they're going to make any kind of run in the NCAA tournament. They did make a run in the Big Ten Tournament, playing three games in three days all the way to the tournament semifinals — one of many firsts for this year's team — and getting 16-, 17- and 16-point efforts from Lindsey in the three games, respectively.

Entering the conference tournament, Lindsey had struggled to regain his shot out of that four-game absence. He scored in double figures just once and shot 27.5 percent from the field over a five-game stretch to close the regular season. What his production would be as Northwestern hit March was a mystery, but he stepped up in Washington, as did Vic Law, who after slumping a bit at the end of the regular season matched Lindsey's 33 combined points in the Cats' two wins in D.C.

Northwestern ran out gas in that tournament, getting thumped by Wisconsin in the aforementioned semifinals. But wins over Rutgers and Maryland were confidence boosters, especially in a year where the Cats finally have some more to play for.

Similarly, with three games in three days, Lindsey gained mental confidence that he's back physically. Good thing, too, because now it's time for the win-or-go-home games, where Northwestern will need Lindsey to produce if it's going to accomplish its goal of doing more than just showing up to the Big Dance.

"That whole tournament was a confidence-builder for me and the team," Lindsey said. "Despite how we lost to Wisconsin, getting those two wins was really big for us, and I think it will help us going into this game."

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

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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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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.