Last night was an amazing game from Number-12 Illinois when the Fighting Illini rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to rout Northwestern, 81-56, in Evanston. Kofi Cockburn scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Ayo Dosunmu posted 15 points, six assists, and five rebounds for the Illini who improved to 9-and-3 and 5-and-1 in the Big Ten. The Wildcats dropped to 6-and-4 and 3-and-3 in conference play. Illinois hosts Maryland on Sunday, while Northwestern visits Ohio State next Wednesday.
This weekend in college basketball.
NIU will be looking for a win in Ohio when the 1-8 Huskies take on the Miami-Ohio Redhawks.
Illinois State will face the Evansville Purple Aces Saturday and Sunday in Indiana. The Redbirds are 3-5 on the season.
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will try to defeat a ranked opponent when they travel to 19th ranked Virginia Tech on Sunday.
Over in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls take on the Lakers tonight at the Staple Center in Los Angeles. The Bulls return home on Sunday to face the Clippers at the United Center.
Chicago Bears kicker Cairo Santos is the NFC special teams player of the month for December. Santos made nine field goals without a miss in four games, helping the Bears earn a wild card berth in the playoffs.
The Bears begin the road to the Superbowl when they visit the Saints Sunday in the Wild Card round matchup. Chicago is the seventh seed in the NFC, while the Saints are the number 2 after going 12-4 with three victories coming during the four-game absence of record-setting quarterback Drew Brees. The Bears lost to the Saints in overtime in November but won three of their last four to make the playoffs. Mitch Trubisky went 6-3 as Bears starting quarterback this season and is slated to start in New Orleans.
Other Wild matchups for this weekend.
- The Bills host the Indianapolis Colts in Buffalo, It’s the first home playoff game for the Bills since December 1996.
- NFC West rivals the Rams and Seahawks will square again in Seattle.
- Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face Washington on the road Saturday night.
And on Sunday
- The Titans and Ravens will face off in a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Round game when they meet in Nashville.
- And the Browns and Steelers will clash for the third time this season when they meet Sunday night at Heinz Field.
Over in the PGA, Harris English and Justin Thomas are tied on top of the leaderboard after round one of the Sentry Tournament of Champions. English and Thomas both shot eight-under par Thursday at the Plantation Course in Kapalua Hawaii.