The latest installment of the Braggin' Rights game between Illinois and Missouri will commence Saturday night with no shortage of story lines.
From a top-prospect who spurned the Illini for the Tigers to the matchup of first year, touted coach to programs trying to get on the right track, this could be one of the most intense Braggin' Rights matchups in some time.
The story starts with the two first year coaches, Cuanzo Martin, who came to Mizzou from Cal, and the rapid rising Brad Underwood, who comes to Illinois from Oklahoma State.
Both dynamic personalities, excellent recruiters and coaches with a good track record, Martin's first year in Columbia, MO has gone more like what Underwood had hoped his first year would hold.
The Tigers enter action 10-2 overall with signature wins over Iowa State and St. John's, the Illini are sputtering, losers of five of their last seven.
Additionally, Martin was able to sway top Illinois prep star, Jeremiah Tillmon to the Tigers after the Illini fired ex-coach John Groce and hired Underwood.
Underwood would get his own splash in recruiting not long after his arrival in Champaign. Underwood and staff were able to sell Mr. Illinois Basketball, Mark Smith, who was picking between Illinois, Mizzou and numerous other power-five programs.
Martin also scored top prep star Michael Porter, Jr, who will not play in the Braggin' Rights matchup Saturday as he recovers from an early season back injury.
Porter Jr's younger brother, Jontay reclassified to the class of '17 and committed to the Tigers over the summer.
The Tigers success getting the dynamic pair of brothers was in large part due to Martin's hiring of their father, Michael Porter Sr.
The Illini lead the all time series 31-16 and are winners of the last four.
Game time from the Scottrade Center Saturday night is 7 pm. Catch the game on ESPN2.