ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WCIA) — Illinois men’s basketball is looking to defend the trophy tonight in St. Louis for the Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri.

A sold out crowd of more than 18-thousand expected here tonight, we’ll see how the weather impacts the attendance but the border wars game is a highlight on the schedule for both the fans and teams every year.

A ton of history in the series between Illinois and Missouri, but the one big difference this time around, all the newcomers. Eight Illini are getting their first taste of the Braggin’ Rights tonight, as the Illini look to keep the trophy. Coleman Hawkins and RJ Melendez two of only a handful of players who know what this rivalry is all about.

“Not everybody knows the atmosphere they’re coming into so I’ve got to warn them about it and make sure that everybody’s ready for this type of game,” Illinois forward RJ Melendez said. “It’s going to be a bloodbath.”

“We don’t like these guys, we’re not supposed to like these guys, it’s not just your next opponents, it’s Mizzou Braggin’ Rights,” Illinois forward Coleman Hawkins said.

The Illini tip off at 8:00 p.m. and are 6.5 favorites to win.