The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: Feb. 12, 2024


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

Illinois head coach Shauna Green in a NCAA basketball game at State Farm Center in Champaign on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024.

Three reasons we love sports today

➜ 1. Illinois women’s basketball coach Shauna Green will visit the Esquire in downtown Champaign for ‘Monday Night SportsTalk,’ from 5-6 p.m. Can’t make it out to the show featuring yours truly, Steve Kelly, Scott Richey and Bob Asmussen? Listen in on WDWS 1400-AM or 93.9-FM.

➜ 2. The Associated Press Top 25 college basketball polls come out today, with Richey and Joe Vozzelli of The N-G sports staff voting in both polls. The Illinois men will likely drop from its No. 10 spot, but will still be ranked. Don’t worry.

➜ 3. So cool to still see high school girls’ wrestling thriving. Jurdan Tyler of Urbana is a state title contender and one of 10 area wrestlers who will compete at the IHSA state finals in Bloomington in two weeks.


On Jan. 30, 2024, Michigan head coach Juwan Howard looks on during the first half against Michigan State at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images/TNS)

Numbers game: 7-0

Record Brad Underwood has against Juwan Howard (right) during his Illinois career. Those looking for solace after the Illini men’s basketball team squandered an eight-point lead in the final eight minutes of Saturday’s 88-80 loss at Michigan State can look there. Especially since Howard and the Wolverines visit Champaign for a 6 p.m. tip on Tuesday at State Farm Center.

Crowd control

Three events I’m paying attention to

➜ 1. Hal Williams Collegiate. The Illinois men’s golf team, ranked 20th in the country, tees off its spring season Monday in Mobile, Ala. Get to know Mike Small’s latest talented bunch before talk of another Big Ten title arrives in the spring.

➜ 2. Decatur Eisenhower at Champaign Central girls’ basketball. The Maroons host a Class 3A regional and if they can beat the Panthers tonight, coach Pancho Moore’s team clinches a spot in Thursday night’s regional championship game.

➜ 3. Michigan at Illinois men’s basketball. The last home game for the Illini until Feb. 24 against Iowa arrives Tuesday night. How will Coleman Hawkins and Co. handle the turnaround after Saturday’s loss?

Jean Demosthenes Parkland


Coach’s corner

Three questions with Parkland women’s basketball coach Jean Demosthenes, whose Cobras are 19-3, are ranked 12th in the latest NJCAA Division II poll and play at rival Danville Area Community College at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday:

➜ 1. My favorite sports team is … the Florida Gators because growing up in Florida, I loved attending both basketball and football games.

➜ 2. Three coaches I’d like to have dinner with are … Bobby Knight, Shaka Smart and Mike Krzyzewski.

➜ 3. My biggest pet peeve is … negative people or people who complain.

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