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updated: 10/18/2012 4:52 PM

Illini, Missouri extend Braggin' Rights deal

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  • Athletic officials for Missouri and Illinois extended their Braggin' Rights Game deal on Thursday, keeping the annual clash in St. Louis.

    Athletic officials for Missouri and Illinois extended their Braggin' Rights Game deal on Thursday, keeping the annual clash in St. Louis.
    Associated Press/2011 file

By Daily Herald News Services

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- University of Illinois and University of Missouri athletics officials, with approval from sponsors, have agreed to play the annual Braggin' Rights Game at Scottrade Center in St. Louis until at least 2017.

The announcement was made on Thursday morning at the Scottrade Center.

"Scottrade Center has been the proud home of the annual Braggin' Rights game since the building opened in 1994," said Tom Stillman, chairman of the St. Louis Blues and Scottrade Center. "We are thrilled that this St. Louis tradition will continue through 2017."

The rivalry basketball game began play in St. Louis on Dec. 10, 1980, and has been played 31 times over the last 32 years, with this season's meeting scheduled for Dec. 22 (5 p.m., ESPN2).

Anheuser-Busch, State Farm and the Scottrade Center are major sponsors behind the event, which is now billed as the Bud Light Braggin' Rights Game.

Illinois holds a 20-11 series advantage in St. Louis and an 11-10 lead in games over the last 21 years. Missouri has won the last three meetings following up a nine-game winning streak by Illinois from 2000-08.

"We are pleased to extend the contract," Illinois director of Athletics 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."

"I've heard about the importance of the Illinois-Missouri game since the day I took the job here at the University of Illinois," Fighting Illini head Ccach John 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."

Practice is under way for both Illinois and Missouri. The Fighting Illini open regular season play on Nov. 9 vs. Colgate. Missouri opens its schedule on Nov. 10 vs. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

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