‘Twas the night before Braggin’ Rights, when all through Champaign
Not a player was shooting, not even S. Kane;
The jerseys were hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that B. Underwood soon would be there;
The players were huddled, with Trent in his dreads;
While visions of another W danced in their heads;
And Feliz in his afro, and Giorgi quite tall,
Had just settled their brains for a long night of ball,
When out in the stands there arose such a clatter,
Illini fans sprang from their seats to see what was the matter.
Away to St. Louis they drove like a flash,
Tore down 57 in a mad dash.
The Arch and Busch Stadium with a fresh snow,
Gave a lustre to the St. Louis skyline below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But the basketball arena and $18 parking near,
With a brand new name not so catchy and slick,
The Enterprise Center is not one I would pick.
But then the fans started walking in since they came,
And Mizzou fans whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Tilmon! now, Pickett! now Martin and Smith!
On, Annika! on, Kylie! on, Henry and Omazic!”
To the top of the state! to the Metro East!
Now come to Columbia! Columbia is beast!”
As Mizzou took the Illini, annoying as hell,
the Tigers were falling, they fell and fell;
So the Illini, winners of 14 of 18, flew
With a team of new players, and T. Underwood too —
And then, in a twinkling, the ball was tipped
Teddy Valentine, the ref, realized his pants were unzipped.
As Jamall Walker drew the plays, Antigua was turning around,
Down goes M. Smith and Giorgi with the rebound.
Ayo was dressed in all orange, from his head to his foot,
And Cuonzo’s suit was all tarnished with regret and soot;
A bundle of threes Trent flung with the team on his back,
And he looked like an All-Big Ten caliber player unleashing, that’s sure a fact.
Aaron Jordan—how he twinkled! Four wins, how merry!
His threes were drained, Tilmon called for a carry.
Illinois extended its lead, but Mizzou came back,
Time for halftime and a good team snack;
Brad didn’t have to break a clipboard,
The team wanted to win, this game just means more.
Chin Coleman had a broad face and a little round belly
And Samba blocked the shots, shook his finger, that’s a celly.
Mark Smith was missing shots, the Illini pulled away
And they laughed when they saw him, time for win No. 5 today.
A wink of Brad’s eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave Kipper the notice that he had nothing to dread;
After the game, Giorgi didn’t say a word,
Shocking for him, he usually has a herd.
Ayo talked too, proud of his game,
He loved the atmosphere, it was anything but tame.
Then was Trent, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew to the locker room like the down of a thistle.
But then there was Brad, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Braggin’ Rights to all, and to all a good night!”