The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: Feb. 20, 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. How about that Illinois women's basketball team? The Illini delivered a signature win on Monday afternoon against Indiana, moving above .500 with three regular-season games left after their 86-66 victory against the 14th-ranked Hoosiers.

➜ happens Sunday for the Illini at No. 4 Iowa. A trip to a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the Caitlin Clark show awaits for a noon tip from Iowa City.

➜ 3. Speaking of Clark, name another athlete besides Travis Kelce who is generating this much national attention. I'll wait. The NCAA all-time leading scorer in women's basketball has 3,569 career points, only 99 away from surpassing Pete Maravich's all-time NCAA record of 3,667 points.

Numbers game: 4

Big Ten road wins for the Illinois men's basketball team this season, second-most of any conference team and only behind league-leading Purdue. The Boilermakers have five Big Ten road wins and are still at that number after Sunday's upset loss at Ohio State. No surprise then, that Purdue and Illinois are the top two Big Ten teams this season.

Crowd control

Three events I'm paying attention to

➜ 1. Mahomet-Seymour vs. Quincy Notre Dame girls' basketball. The Class 3A Decatur MacArthur Sectional semifinal game between the Bulldogs (14-19) and the Raiders (27-4) tips at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with M-S looking to pull the upset.

➜ 2. St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Peotone girls' basketball. The Class 2A Iroquois West Sectional semifinal is a rematch between the Spartans (17-11) and Blue Devils (25-4) after Peotone won 46-31 on Feb. 7. Tip is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Gilman.

➜ 3. Oakwood/Salt Fork vs. Roxana wrestling. Oakwood/Salt Fork can clinch a spot in the Class 1A dual team state tournament if it can get past the Shells after a long drive south to Benton on Tuesday.

Coach's corner

Three questions with Unity wrestling coach Logan Patton, whose Rockets will compete on Tuesday night against Peoria Notre Dame for a spot in the dual team state tournament:

➜ 1. My favorite sports team is ... the Chicago Bears

➜ 2. Three coaches I'd like to have dinner with are ... Cael Sanderson, Dan Gable and Henry Patton.

➜ 3. My biggest pet peeve is ... lazy people. I don't like people who don't put in the work towards their goal and just wish for things to happen. I like being around hard-working people.