The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: March 19, 2024

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Sports Editor Matt Daniels with a look at what's going on around the area:

Three reasons we love sports today

➜ 1. Brackets. The NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket is on C-2 of today's edition, with the NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket on C-4.

➜ , with the majority devoted to the Illinois men's basketball team ahead of its upcoming NCAA tournament stay that starts Thursday.

➜ 3. Want a poster to commemorate the Illini men's basketball tournament championship? Click here to order. Posters can either be shipped or picked up at our office at 2101 Fox Drive in Champaign.

Numbers game: 643

Points this season for Terrence Shannon Jr. Buoyed by his play at the Big Ten tournament, Shannon needs only 26 points to become the single-season record-holder for points at Illinois. Don Freeman currently holds the honor with his 668 points during the 1965-66 season. Shannon is fourth, with only Nick Anderson (647 in 1988-89) and Andy Kaufmann (660 in 1990-91) standing between he and Freeman for first place.

Crowd control

Three events I'm paying attention to

➜ 1. Illinois vs. Morehead State men's basketball. Did you know the Illini's first-round NCAA tournament opponent is eighth in the country in scoring defense, only allowing an average of 62.8 points? Now you do.

➜ 2. Bradley at Illinois baseball. If the wind is blowing out at Illinois Field on Tuesday night, maybe Drake Westcott adds to his team-high five home runs when the Illini host the Braves at 6 p.m.

➜ 3. Missouri State at Illinois women's basketball. What's the WBIT? The Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament. Why is it mentioned here? Because it gives Shauna Green's team at least one more game at State Farm Center on Thursday night.

Coach's corner

Three questions with Mahomet-Seymour boys' track and field coach Keith Pogue. The veteran coach with the Bulldogs also led the school's football program from 2008-18, going 72-39.

➜ 1. My favorite sports team is ... the Las Vegas Raiders. Mercenaries in the heart of gambling pretty much sums up professional sports these days.

➜ 2. Three coaches I'd like to have dinner with are ... Clyde Hart, Mike McDaniel and Andy Reid.

➜ 3. My biggest pet peeve is ... cell phones. Cell phones are great tools, but young people's addiction to these devices is frightening.