The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: April 3, 2024

Apr. 3—➜ . Which is what the Illinois women's basketball team will get the opportunity to do so Wednesday night against Villanova in the WBIT title game. The ball gets thrown in the air at 6 p.m. at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

➜ . See their in-depth coverage in Thursday's paper.

➜ . See who the finalists are on B-5 in today's paper.

MLB games listed on B-6 in today's paper, with full schedules for the Cubs, White Sox and Cardinals. Three highlights:

1) Thursday is opening day for the Cardinals against at Busch Stadium. Essentially a holiday in St. Louis.

2) The Cubs host the Yankees Sept. 6-8. All day games, too, for the weekend series at Wrigley Field.

3) The White Sox and Cubs meet June 4-5 at Wrigley Field and Aug. 9-10 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

➜ . Can Makira Cook and Co. get off to a strong start like they did on Monday evening against Washington State? If they do, a WBIT championship trophy is coming back to Champaign.

➜ . Tuesday night's game at Illinois State was rained out for the Illini. It's expected to be 50 degrees and sunny at 4 p.m. Friday in Minneapolis when the Illini and Gophers start their three-game series.

➜ . For this life-long Cardinals' fan, nothing beats Opening Day in St. Louis. Enjoy the Clydesdales, red jackets and pregame ceremony starting at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

➜ the Kansas City Chiefs.

➜ Nick Saban, Jim Valvano and Deion Sanders.

➜ real sugar in an iced coffee.