Big Ten

Thad Matta done after 13 seasons as Ohio State head basketball coach

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USA TODAY

Thad Matta done after 13 seasons as Ohio State head basketball coach

The illustrious Thad Matta Era at Ohio State is over.

The school announced Monday afternoon that Matta, who spent 13 seasons leading the basketball program, is no longer the head coach, effectively immediately. Athletics director Gene Smith said a national search will start immediately, as well.

Matta and Smith reflected on Matta's longtime health issues and the effects those have had on the success of the program, specifically in recruiting. Matta's situation got worse when lifelong back issues were joined by a permanent foot disability after a botched 2007 surgery. The two said Monday that they talked about what was best for the program and agreed it was time for Matta to step away.

Matta is the program's all-time winningest coach, and he took the Buckeyes to a national championship game and a pair of Final Fours. But the last few years of his tenure have not gone nearly as well.

A pair of first-weekend exits from the NCAA tournament were followed by back-to-back seasons without invitations to the Big Dance. Recruiting successes haven't been as prevalent, either, and this past season, the Buckeyes failed to win 20 games for the first time since Matta arrived in Columbus. This offseason, Ohio State missed out on some transfers and recruits, which Smith said played a part in this decision.

Matta's health issues obviously had a detrimental effect on the success of his program, so much so that when asked if he would still be the coach were he 100-percent healthy, Matta responded that he thinks he probably would be.

While the end is not what anyone wanted it to be, Matta's tenure was undoubtedly a remarkable success.

He led the Buckeyes to nine NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the national championship game, a pair of Final Fours, three Elite Eights and five Sweet Sixteens. Matta-coached teams won a combined nine Big Ten championships, with three of his squads capturing regular-season and conference-tournament titles in the same season.

Matta sent had 10 of his Ohio State players selected in the NBA Draft, including eight first-round picks: Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, Kosta Koufos, Byron Mullens, Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and D'Angelo Russell.

Matta finished his run at Ohio State with a 337-123 record at the school, the program's all-time leader in wins, with a 150-78 mark in Big Ten play.

https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/871800852910137344

The Buckeyes' search will start right away, and Matta will have a role, according to Smith, in picking his successor.

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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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.