Grading the Illini's win over Missouri:
Player of the Game: Shaun Pruitt
If you didn't notice – and he's hard to miss – Pruitt is bullying his way to a strong season. Pruitt (career high 19 points) reached double-digit scoring for the 10th time in 13 games. Bodes well for early Big Ten matchups with Courtney Sims (Michigan) and Greg Oden (Ohio State).
Don't overlook Rich McBride. His skip pass to find Jamar Smith (for "3") was a savvy senior move. He hit two free throws late in the game and seemed to offer composure in a flurry of emotions.
Carter-Pruitt. Pruitt-Carter. One day it's Carter, the next it's Pruitt. It was Pruitt's time to star Tuesday, but they complement each other with an inside-outside, finesse-power combo that's gaining steam.
This is one area Mizzou was supposed to have an advantage. And the Tigers needed to win this area to win the game. They did (24 points to 19), but Jamar Smith's 17 points were still too much.
So long, blowout Braggin' Rights games. Already, you can see the energy Mike Anderson has brought to the Missouri program. Once again, Illinois played to its competition level. Good or bad, it's no longer a trend.