8:00 pm
December 22

Illinois @ Missouri

Who will WIN this matchup?

Illinois Fighting Illini (4-7)

@ Missouri Tigers (7-3)


Current odds:

Illinois Fighting Illini: (-110)

Missouri Tigers: (-110)


• The line for this game is even.

• Missouri has begun to win more recruiting battles over border rival Illinois since coach Cuonzo Martin’s arrival, but the Fighting Illini have maintained the upper-hand on the court. Illinois will try for its sixth straight win in the Braggin’ Rights series when it faces the Tigers on Saturday in St. Louis. The Tigers enter on a hot streak, having won four straight – including an impressive 71-56 home triumph over Xavier on Tuesday. One-time Illinois commit Jeremiah Tilmon collected 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Musketeers, and former Illini guard Mark Smith scored 13 points.

• Illinois could have used those players during its struggles earlier this season, but the team has turned things around with two straight victories – including a 73-55 win over East Tennessee State last Saturday. The past seven Braggin’ Rights games each have been decided by fewer than 10 points.

• The Illini got off to a rough start with eight new scholarship players on the roster but have started to settle into a rhythm. Guards Trent Frazier (15.4 points) and Aaron Jordan (10, 5.4 rebounds) are the leaders for a team that relies heavily on the 3-pointer. Freshmen Ayo Dosunmu (12 points, 4.5 rebounds) and Giorgi Bezhanishvili (9.9, 4.7) also have been productive and will look to make a mark in their Braggin’ Rights debut.

• The Tigers don’t have a dominant scorer, but they’ve had several players step up at various times. Senior guard Jordan Geist (12.7 points, 4.3 rebounds) and Illinois transfer Smith (11.7, 5.2) have been the most reliable scorers, and the latter leads the SEC in 3-point shooting (47.2 percent). Tilmon (11 points, 6.6 rebounds) has recorded double-doubles in three of his last five contests and is capable of taking over a game at both ends of the floor when he avoids foul trouble.

• Missouri has held three straight opponents under 30 points in the first half.

• The Tigers are 7-0 when limiting opponents to 69 points or fewer.

• Illinois forces turnovers on 24.9 percent of opponents’ possessions for an average of 18.1 per contest.

StreakSmarter Pick
Missouri Tigers