A streak ends this evening.
Whether its Mizzou’s four-game winning streak or Illinois’ run of five Braggin’ Rights victories in a row. For the Tigers, downing the Illini is more than a triumph for their psyche. It would allow coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff to plant a stake in the ground. The Tigers recent recruiting in the St. Louis metro area has created the sense that there’s a palpable shift in momentum to the western side of the rivalry.
With Caleb Love, an elite combo guard out of CBC, on hand, this might be first-hand proof that fortunes are finally turning MU’s directions.
As for the Illini, a second win under Brad Underwood might allay some early concerns over the Illini’s start. At the moment, Illinois’ rebuild appears to be a couple steps behind. Maintaining their dominance might recalibrate that perception.
Make no mistake, these are two programs and rosters in transition. The outcome may not impact fortunes for either this season, but there are long-term ramifications in play. And as Sam Snelling pointed out earlier today, the dosage vitriol dispensed by both fanbases has increased.
Maybe the rivalry is still slightly lopsided. Perhaps it doesn’t have the same buzz as the halcyon days of Norm and Lou doing battle. (Even if the Illini’s coach does don an orange blazer for the clash.) But it’s only a matter of time before the series from percolating disgust to a full-blown feud.
Tonight, we’ll check the temperature.
Opponent: Illinois Fighting Illini (4-7)
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Where: Enterprise Center; St. Louis, Mo
Is Mizzou Receiving Top 25 Votes? Nope.
What Does Vegas Say? Pick’em, O/U 140.5
What Does KenPom Say? Missouri 71, Illinois 70 (Win expectancy: 52 percent)
Where To Watch: Big Ten Network
Radio: Tiger Radio Network // Sirius/XM -119/199
Facebook: Mizzou Men’s Basketball
The Highlights ⤵️#ToTheFinishLine pic.twitter.com/E3cEaENa2k— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouHoops) December 19, 2018
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