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The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: Feb. 13, 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 (Nick Allegretti edition)

➜ 1. Nick Allegretti played all 79 snaps on offense for the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs during its 25-22 overtime win against the 49ers on Sunday night. Allegretti is the first former Illini to win three Super Bowl rings.

➜ has reason to feel good today. Allegretti's high school coach at Lincoln-Way East in the Chicago suburbs is a Monticello native who has overseen one of the most successful programs in the state. And is still doing so to this day.

➜ 3. Before Allegretti played football at Illinois, he was familiar with Champaign. Because he was a two-time state wrestling qualifier at Lincoln-Way East, placing third as a senior in 2014 at 285 pounds in Class 3A.

Numbers game: 216

That was the overall selection when the Kansas City Chiefs took Nick Allegretti in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL draft held in Nashville, Tenn. "As soon as the pick went through, everybody that knows anything about offensive line play was texting and calling me telling me what a great situation I'm going to," Allegretti told me back in late April 2019. Boy, he wasn't wrong.

Crowd control

Three events I'm paying attention to

➜ 1. Michigan at Illinois men's basketball. The Illini are 14th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll that came out Monday and are 16-point favorites before Tuesday's 6 p.m. tip at State Farm Center in Champaign against the Big Ten's worst team.

➜ 2. St. Joseph-Ogden at Paxton-Buckley-Loda boys' basketball. The Spartans (23-6) can clinch an outright Illini Prairie Conference regular-season title if they can avoid an upset against the Panthers (5-21) when the two teams tip at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

➜ 3. Urbana at Centennial boys' basketball. The visiting Tigers (10-13) will try to knock off the rival Chargers (18-10) at Coleman Carrodine Gym at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Big 12 Conference action.

Coach's corner

Three questions with Champaign Central boys' basketball coach PJ Keaton, whose Maroons host Danville on Tuesday night in their final home game of the season at Combes Gym:

➜ 1. My favorite sports team is ... the Los Angeles Lakers. I am a big LeBron James fan.

➜ 2. Three coaches I'd like to have dinner with are ... Wayne McClain, John Scheyer and Bill Self.

➜ 3. My biggest pet peeve is ... when a talented kid lets his talent go to to waste.