Illini, Mizzou renew Braggin' Rights Game

Illinois Fighting Illini and Missouri Tigers announced Thursday they extended their annual Braggin' Rights Game until at least 2017 and will remain at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

The teams began their annual game in St. Louis on Dec. 10, 1980 and have played 31 times in the last 31 years. They will play again on Dec. 22 at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

The Illini hold a 20-11 advantage in the series. The Tigers have won the past three games following a nine-game winning streak by Illinois.

"We are pleased to extend the contract ensuring that the Bud Light Braggin' Rights game will remain a fixture in St. Louis for years to come," Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said in a statement. "The University of Illinois enjoys a longstanding, spirited rivalry with the University of Missouri, and this game has grown in popularity over the past 31 years to become one of the premier events of the college basketball season."

Illinois first-year coach John Groce is excited about experiencing his first Illinois-Missouri game.

"I've heard about the importance of the Illinois-Missouri game since the day I took the job here at the University of Illinois," Groce said. "This is one of college basketball's best non-conference rivalry games. When you factor in the longevity of the series, holding it at a neutral site in St. Louis with the crowd split 50-50, and playing it right before the holidays; you are talking about a big-time environment for our players, alumni and fans. I'm excited about experiencing this rivalry for the first time, and that we are extending the contract so the Braggin' Rights game will continue for many years."

Missouri went 30-5 overall and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Tigers are ranked No. 17 to start this season.

Illinois was 17-15 overall last season and was not invited to a postseason tournament.