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Sports Saturday

This You Gotta See: Cubs-White Sox, Bucks-Lakers and a big week for the hungry Illini

Indiana has won seven of the last eight head-to-head against Illinois. That’s a real statement on Illini basketball, considering Indiana hasn’t been, you know, Indiana in a while. Time for a little payback, isn’t it?

Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu is on a tear, scoring in bunches and knocking down one clutch shot after another.
Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu is on a tear, scoring in bunches and knocking down one clutch shot after another.
AP Photos

SUN 1

Indiana at Illinois (1 p.m., BTN)

The Hoosiers have won seven of the last eight head-to-head in the series. That is a real -statement on Illini basketball, considering the Hoosiers haven’t been, you know, the Hoosiers in a while. What say you, Ayo Dosunmu? Time for a little payback, isn’t it?

Fire at Sounders (2 p.m., ESPN)

The season opener arrives after a whirlwind offseason in which the Fire were transformed from the top down, but first-year coach Raphael Wicky will be without several new players because of visa issues. Lots of luck against the mighty Sounders, the reigning MLS champs.

Northwestern at Nebraska (3:15 p.m., BTN)

It’s the battle for the Big Ten basement in what surely will be a rollicking affair between the Wildcats (1-16 in league play) and Cornhuskers (2-15). Both are on 12-game losing streaks. Can you feel the excitement?

MON 2

Cubs at Athletics (8:05 p.m., MLB)

Who needs Marquee, anyway? The last time these teams played, the Cubs romped 12-2 in their spring opener. And you know what that means? Absolutely nothing.

WED 4

Bulls at Timberwolves (7 p.m., NBCSCH)

Once upon a time, the 2019-20 Bulls pretty routinely beat up on the dregs of the league. But lately they’ve become equal-opportunity losers — quite a feat — though the Timberwolves still are, it must be said, even worse. Have at it against your old team, Zach LaVine.

THU 5

Illinois at Ohio State (6 p.m., ESPN)

Once upon a time, these same Buckeyes were ranked No. 2 in the land. It was an overestimation of their ability, to be sure, but they’ve steadied the ship since a gnarly stretch of losing — and now come the hungry Illini. The battle inside between Ohio State big man Kaleb Wesson and Illini freshman 7-footer Kofi Cockburn is appointment viewing.

Oilers at Blackhawks (7:30 p.m., NBCSCH)

Leon Draisaitl leads the NHL in scoring. Close behind him is teammate Connor McDavid, who many think is the best hockey player in the world. Other than that, the non-playoff-bound Hawks have nothing to worry about.

FRI 6

White Sox at Cubs (2:05 p.m., Marquee)

Many a bitter Sox fan is trying to wrap the ol’ head around the fact that the Cubs are on TV all spring, while the Sox are mostly not (not that it has a whit to do with which team will be better this season). Is it ever a bad time for a Crosstown Classic, even a Phoenix-area one?

Bucks at Lakers (9:30 p.m., ESPN)

What do you know? Team Giannis and Team LeBron are back in business. As great as the All-Star Game in Chicago was — and it was off the charts in the fourth quarter — it doesn’t have anything on a real-deal NBA Finals preview.

SAT 7

Kansas at Texas Tech (1 p.m., ESPN)

A test in Lubbock against a scrappy squad with many parts left over from the 2019 Final Four will be severe, but these Jayhawks are the most complete team in the country. Uh-oh, now we’ve gone and ticked off all the Illinois fans who continue to hold a grudge against Bill Self. Sorry.