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The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: April 17, 2024

Apr. 17—➜ . Cool to see the turnout and support for an event that Illinois men's basketball coach Brad Underwood seems to take a lot of pride in.

➜ , with the honor announced Tuesday. Knudsen is a finance major and sports a 3.90 GPA.

➜ 3. Voting continues until noon on Thursday for the latest News-Gazette High School Athlete of the Week, powered by Copper Creek Contractors. and vote for your top choices. The female nominees are Maddie Barnes from Hoopeston Area softball, Izabelle Behrends from Prairie Central track and field, Cali Cooper from Uni High soccer and Rylie Schulze from Champaign Central soccer. The male nominees are Caleb Clutteur from Milford baseball, Dominic Martin from Ridgeview/Lexington track and field, Luke McClure from Champaign Central baseball and Traxton Roberts from Armstrong-Potomac baseball.

Points former Illini has averaged for the Bulls against the Hawks this season, while also supplying quality defense against Trae Young. If Dosunmu can go Wednesday night — he's missed the last four games with a right quad contusion — that should help the Bulls when they host the Hawks at 8:30 p.m. at the United Center. Win and Chicago plays either the 76ers or Heat on Friday to determine who gets the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

➜ . After finishing second earlier this month at the Big Ten Championships at State Farm Center, coach 's team heads to Columbus, Ohio, this week vying for the program's first national title since 2012. The 12-team meet begins Friday and continues Saturday with the top six teams after Friday qualifying.

➜ . The top-ranked Cobras (43-3) carry a 36-game win streak into Friday's home doubleheader against the Loggers (11-21) that begins at 2 p.m. in Champaign.

➜ . The first of two games between the Unit 4 rivals takes place at 6 p.m. Friday at Spalding Park in Champaign.

➜ the Illinois basketball teams.

➜ coaches that coach hard and hug later: Mike Ditka, Brad Underwood and George Halas.

➜ athletes that are not humble.