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Illinois hasn’t fared well in Braggin’ Rights in the Underwood era

Braggin’ Rights has brought some memories... but also some frustration.

L.G. Patterson // AP

It’s that time of year.

The holidays are approaching and for Illini fans, that means Braggin’ Rights is as well.

Illinois and Missouri are set to meet in St. Louis on Friday night for the 43rd edition of the Braggin’ Rights game, a late December tradition that has brought with it a multitude of big moments and memorable performances.

Overall, Illinois leads the series 26-16 but it hasn’t been quite as pretty in recent years. Brad Underwood and Co. enter Friday night just 2-4 in the rivalry and for whatever reason, have struggled in this game since he took the helm despite often boasting the more talented roster and higher ranked team entering the contest.

Here’s a look at the Braggin’ Rights results since Brad Underwood arrived in Champaign:

2017: Illinois 70, Missouri 64

Underwood’s first season got things started on the right foot, extending the Illini’s winning streak in the series to five with a 70-64 victory.

A freshman Trent Frazier had a coming out party for Illinois with 22 points off the bench, 10 of which came at the free throw line while Leron Black chipped in 20 points and 7 rebounds.

And get this: freshman Mark Smith had 11 points for Illinois before jumping to the other side of the rivalry for the next three battles.

2018: Missouri 79, Illinois 63

Missouri was finally able to snap their losing streak in 2018, controlling the Illini front start to finish for a 16-point victory over a team that included freshmen Ayo Dosunmu, Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Alan Griffin.

The star of the show, however, was Trent Frazier as he put together one of the better performances of his five-year Illini career. He finished with 28 points on 10-for-20 shooting and knocked down six threes in the losing effort.

This was one in a long line of struggles for the 2018-19 Illini who went just 4-7 in nonconference play before finally breaking through at the end of the conference season.

2019: Missouri 63, Illinois 56

2019 was a particularly frustrating one, as a Missouri team that would go on to finish the season under .500 held the Illini to just 56 points in an ugly, defensive game.

Ayo Dosunmu led all scorers with 21 points and a freshman Kofi Cockburn chipped in 13 points and two blocks but beyond them, Illinois didn’t get much help and dropped its second straight Braggin’ Rights game in frustrating fashion.

Missouri guard Dru Smith and former Illini signee Javon Pickett had 19 and 17 points respectively for the Tigers.

2020: Missouri 81, No. 6 Illinois 78

This is the one that’ll really make your blood boil.

Due to COVID, this game was to be held on one of the two campus sites (without fans), determined via a coin flip conducted by Andy Katz.

Missouri won the flip and subsequently, the game as they knocked off the then No. 6 Illini 81-78 to extend its Braggin’ Rights win streak to three.

Ayo Dosunmu did all he could in the loss, scoring a career-high 36 points on 13-for-20 shooting. Kofi Cockburn added 19 points and freshman Andre Curbelo tallied 14 points and 4 assists off the bench, but the Tigers were able to pull off the shocking upset nonetheless.

A late Kofi Cockburn technical foul helped swing it in Missouri’s favor, a call that was not very well-received by Brad Underwood.

The loss would end Ayo Dosunmu’s career in orange and blue a stunning 0-3 in Braggin’ Rights games.

2021: Illinois 88, Missouri 63

The Illini finally let out some anger in 2021, dominating Missouri from the opening tip and picking up one of their most lopsided wins in the history of the series, 88-63.

Kofi Cockburn was an unstoppable force in this one, putting up 25 points and 14 rebounds. Alfonso Plummer added 22 and it all came full circle for Trent Frazier as his 15 points helped finish his Braggin’ Rights career how it started.

This snapped a 3-game Illini losing streak in the series.

2022: Missouri 93, No. 16 Illinois 71

And then there was 2022.

One of the more miserable Illinois basketball performances in recent memory culminated in trailing Missouri by THIRTY-FIVE points midway through the second half, en route to a 93-71 beatdown.

Missouri forward Kobe Brown dominated with 30 points, guard D’Moi Hodge pitched in 20 and a completely lifeless Illini team got ran out of the building in a game that signified that there may be some issues on the horizon.

Hopefully, the Braggin’ Rights will return to Champaign in 2023 as Illinois looks to have the much stronger squad heading into this year’s contest and enough returnees to keep the wounds of last season fresh.

Still, records can usually be thrown out in this rivalry. The Illini will need to come ready to play.


Does Illinois take care of Missouri this time around?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Yes, Illinois wins.
    (117 votes)
  • 7%
    No, Missouri wins.
    (10 votes)
127 votes total Vote Now

The Illini meet the Tigers in St. Louis at 8:00 p.m. Friday night on FS1.