In 1980 two Schools met for what would be an Annual event. The annual Braggin Rights Game, played every year since 1980, at a neutral site in St Louis, Missouri (except for 1982). Now the two teams had played a home and Home series from 1976 - 1979 then dubbed the Show Me Classic. The Braggin Rights concept was in one sense a recruiting tool by Illinois to get thier name more prominent in the St Louis and area market. They realized they had a large alumni presence in the St. Louis metro area and were looking for ways to capitalize on it.
The first meeting between these two rivals in 1980 featured future hall of fame coach Lou Henson (2018) and Missouri coaching legend Norm Stewart. It was played in what was originally known as the Checkerdome(the name of the venue from 1977 - 1983). Renamed the St Louis arena in 1984 the game was played there until 1993. It was then moved to its current location which has undergone name changes of it's own. Starting with it's opening as the Kiel Center in 1994. Then the Savis center from 2000-2006. Then it was the Scottrade Center from 2006-2018. Now known as the Enterprise center It is also known as the Home of the NHL St Louis Blues.
*This year will mark the 51st meeting of the two schools which actually dates back to 1932. Then Illinois coached by former Missouri player and Coach Craig Ruby bested Missouri at Brewer Fieldhouse in Columbia Missouri 36-24. Illinois would play Missouri 6 more times between 1932 and 1955. With Illinois posting a 6-2 advantage.
*The short-lived Show Me Classic produced and even 2-2 draw between the two schools. The current Braggin Rights tally stands at 25-14 in favor of Illinois. The last 2 meetings have gone Missouri's way. *Missouri's largest margin of victory was a 76-58 win in 1994, Illinois largest margin of victory was a 32 point 82-50 win in 2005.
*The series has seen 4 overtime games.Missouri won in overtime in 1981, 78-68 and in 1993, 108-107(the last game at the St Louis Arena). Illinois won in Overtime in 1995, 96-85 and again in 2000, 86-81.
*Illinois had entered the Braggin rights ranked 19 times Missouri 16 times with both teams being ranked at the SAME time 9 times.
*Missouri has had 6 different Head coaches since the start of the Braggin rights Norm Stewart 7-11, Quinn Snyder 1-6, Mike Anderson 2-3, Frank Haith 2-1, Kim Anderson 0-3 and Cuonzo Martin(current) 2-1.
*Illinois has also had 6 different coaches coach in the Braggin Rights Lou Henson 10-5, Lon Kruger 1-3, Bill Self 3-0, Bruce Webber 6-3, John Groce 4-1 and Brad Underwood(current) 1-2.
The Braggin Rights have seen some very fine players over the years.
Missouri saw the likes of Rickie Fraizer 1979-1982, Jon Sunvold 1979-1983, Steve Stipanovich 1979-1983, Derrick Chievous 1984-1988, Doug Smith 1987-1991, Anthony Peeler 1988-1992, Melvin Booker 1990-1994, Kareem Rush 1999-2002, Kim English 2008-2012.
Illinois boasted players like Eddie Johnson 1978-1981, Derek Harper 1981-1983, Bruce Douglas 1983-1986, Kenny Norman 1985-1987, Kendall Gill 1986-1990, Kenny Battle 1988-1989, Nick Anderson 1988-1989, Deon Thomas 1991-1994, Brian Cook 2000-2003, Frank Williams 2000-2002, Deron Williams 2003-2005, Dee Brown 2003-2006,
This game has evolved from an early December contest to a pre-Christmas wrap up of the non conference schedule. It is a game often refereed to by fans as the final real test before conference play for each team. This year shall prove to be no different.
Illinois comes in boasting a 4-1 record and a big win over Duke. They have Ayo Dosunmu 6'5" Jr G 22.6ppg, 8.2rpg and 6apg and Kofi Cockburn 7'0" So C 13ppg and 9.4rpg, who have both made more than one preseason watch list. They also have back court leadership with a couple of Senior guards Trent Frazier 6'2" 9.2ppg and 3.8rpg and DeMonte Williams 6'3" 7.6ppg and 6.8rpg. Add in Freshman shooting guard 6'3" Adam Miller 13.4ppg. 6'9" Jr C/F Giorgi Bezhanishvili 8.2ppg and 4rpg and Freshman Guard 6'3" Andre Curbello 10.4ppg and 3rpg, provides bench strength.
Missouri 4-0 with solid wins over Oregon and Wichita State is led by 6'5" Sr Mark Smith 17.3ppg and 3.5rpg. who was highly recruited by Illinois. working with him is Dru Smith a 6'3" Red shirt Sr and a preseason SEC 2nd team All-Conference selection 13.8ppg and 3.7apg. Another Senior and Illinois recruit is big man 6'10" Jeremiah Tilmon 8.8ppg and 8.5rpg, rounding out the starting quintet are 6'7" So F Kobe Brown 6.5ppg and 5'8rpg 6'2" Jr G Xavier Pinson 13.8ppg, 4.8rpg and 4apg. The Tigers get bench support from 6'5" Jr. G Javon Picket 8.5ppg and 3.3rpg and 6'10" Red shirt Sr Mitchell Smith 5ppg and 4.5rpg.
Missouri is the most experienced with 4 JR, 2 Sr 2 red shirt Sr and 1 5th year senior(grad Student)
Illinois has 2 Jr 1 Red shirt Jr 3 Sr(1 walk on) and 1 5th year Sr (Grad student) Illinois does have 6 Fr and 1 red shirt Freshman
As a team the Tigers avg 78 ppg and allow 65 the Illini are avg 89 ppg and allowing 64. So both teams boast a good defense. it may come down to who takes care of the ball better Missouri avgs 12 TO while Illinois avgs 15. Illinois shoots 54% from the floor and 57.5% from 3pt range vs Missouri 49.8 from the floor and 32.6 from the arc. Illinois has the rebounding edge 46.8 to 39.5
If Illinois take care of the ball and hits the boards They should be able to score. But If Missouri can force turnovers and block out they have a chance to pull off the upset. either way it should be a another in the long list of hotly contested match ups between Missouri and Illinois.
those are my thoughts what do you think?