The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: May 31, 2024

May 31—➜ . They are the winners of our last High School Athletes of the Week for the 2023-24 school year. Read more about the duo in Monday's paper.

➜ 8 p.m. on Aug. 29 against Eastern Illinois, 6 p.m. on Sept. 7 against Kansas and 11 a.m. on Sept. 14 against Central Michigan.

➜ . Pretty cool for both of those area programs.

Days until the Illinois football team hosts Central Michigan on Sept. 14, the earliest homecoming game in Illinois history. The Illini have played homecoming games in October, November and even December, compiling a 47-64-2 record in games that date back to 1910. But never in September. That'll change this season when the Chippewas visit Champaign for the first time and become the first non-Big Ten homecoming foe since Ball State in 2007.

➜ . Beat the Sycamores on Friday night and either Kentucky or Western Michigan awaits at 5 p.m. Saturday. Lose to 's alma mater, and the Illini play an elimination game at 11 a.m. Saturday against either the Wildcats or Broncos in Lexington, Ky.

➜ Winner on Saturday in Rochester advances to Monday night's Class 3A Elite Eight game in Decatur.

➜ . St. Joseph-Ogden graduate went 2 for 3 for Alabama in Thursday's 4-1 loss to UCLA at the Women's College World Series. Dowling and the Crimson Tide face an elimination game at 6 p.m. Friday.

➜ any University of Illinois team.

➜ Mike Ditka, John Wooden and Andy Reid.

➜ drivers who don't use their turn signals.