Meanwhile, The Saint Louis University Billikens easily handled their first round matchup against New Mexico State Thursday afternoon, winning 64-to-44. They move on to play Oregon on March 23rd.
The Missouri Tigers also got a ticket to the big dance. Mizzou is the ninth seed in the Midwest. They'll face the No. 8 seed Colorado State on Thursday.
If Mizzou and SLU make it through the first two rounds of the tournament, they would face each other in the Elite 8.
After an up and down season, the Fighting Illini made it into the tournament with a No. 7 seed and will face No. 10 seed Colorado in the Eastern Region on Friday.
Fellow senior Jabari Brown helped finish off the Razorbacks early with 13 of his 23 points in a dominant first half with the Tigers (22-8-11-6 SEC) leading 48-22. The third senior, Alex Oriakhi, had 10 points and eight rebounds and topped 1,000 career rebounds.
BJ Young had 27 points for Arkansas (18-12, 9-8), which shot just 31 percent in the first half while going 1 for 15 from 3-point range. The Razorbacks surrendered a season high in points.
Missouri finished 17-0 at home for its second unbeaten slate in five years. The Tigers shot 58 percent in the first half and 57 percent the rest of the way.
Phil Pressey added 10 assists, seven points, six rebounds and three steals for Missouri (19-7, 8-5 SEC). The Tigers didn't have Bowers a month ago in a 31-point blowout loss at Florida.
Mike Rosario had 14 points for Florida (21-4, 11-2) but missed a 3-point try at the buzzer. The Gators had won 13 of 14 and led 49-36 with 10:51 left, then hurt themselves at the foul line.
Florida missed five straight free throws in the second half, three times on the front end of one-and-ones. The Gators made six of 12 foul shots overall, while Missouri was 12 of 15.
The Tigers improved to 15-0 at home this season. They are 30-1 the last two seasons under coach Frank Haith.
The loss dropped the Tigers (16-6, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) to 0-5 in true road games. They have won three games at neutral sites this season.
Laurence Bowers was wide open when he hit a 3-pointer to give Missouri its first lead of the game, 68-67, with 53 seconds left.
Harris turned it over on Texas A&M's next possession, but Phil Pressey gave it right back with a turnover to set up the winning score for A&M (14-8, 4-5).
Ray Turner blocked a shot by Keion Bell with 2 seconds left to secure the win.
Alex Oriakhi led the Tigers with 15 points.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- After a long wait, Jabari Brown is finally feeling like part of the Missouri basketball program.
Making his first start of the season, Brown had 18 points and seven rebounds Saturday to lead the 12th-ranked Tigers to an 82-73 win over No. 10 Illinois in the annual Braggin' Rights game.
Laurence Bowers paced Missouri (10-1) with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Alex Oriakhi added 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Phil Pressey had 12 points and 11 assists to help the Tigers win their fourth straight in the 32-year-old series.
Brown, a transfer from Oregon, became eligible after the first semester and made his initial appearance Monday in a 102-51 win over South Carolina State.
A blue-chip recruit, he made the most of his first starting assignment Saturday.
"It was fun. I'm part of the family now," he said.
Brown anxiously watched from the sidelines as the Tigers rolled out to an 8-1 record without him. After becoming eligible, he has worked hard to make up for lost time.
"I wanted to prove I could play right away and fit in any way I can," Brown said. "I spent a lot of time practicing and getting used to things and the way they play here.
"Now, I'm finally feeling comfortable."
Brandon Paul led Illinois (12-1) with 23 points. Tyler Griffey scored 14, Joseph Bertrand had 13 and Nnanna Egwu 12 for the Illini.
Missouri used a 9-0 run late in the game to take the lead for good at 70-64. The Tigers held a 58-35 edge on the boards and outscored Illinois 44-24 in the paint.
Illinois, which leads the overall series 20-12, won nine meetings in a row from 2000-08 before Missouri began its winning streak.
Brown triggered a key 9-0 spurt that erased a three-point deficit and put the Tigers ahead 70-64. He had four points and two rebounds during the 2:31 span.
Brown scored from close range off a perfect pass from Earnest Ross to increase the lead to 68-64. Pressey added a short jumper seconds later to complete the run.
Oriakhi, who had his fourth double-double of the season, was impressed with Brown's effort.
"He's unbelievable. He did a little bit of everything tonight," Oriakhi said. "I can't believe he's fit in so fast. He's one of us now."
Brown played in two games at Oregon last season before deciding to transfer. He watched last season's Braggin' Rights game from his home in Oakland and was intrigued by the atmosphere, which annually features a sellout crowd with the fans divided equally between the schools.
"I had visited (Missouri) and really hadn't made a decision, but I thought, if I choose (Missouri), that's going to be a fun game to play in," Brown said.
Missouri coach Frank Haith was more than pleased with the performance of his new addition. He immediately moved Brown into the starting lineup after a 12-point performance against South Carolina State, in which Brown excelled defensively.
"It was all about our balance," Haith said. "And he can do a lot of things."
The physical game against Illinois featured 19 lead changes, 35 fouls and 43 free throws.
"They've got a lot of depth and they've got size," Illinois first-year coach John Groce said. "They're good now. They've got a chance to get even better moving forward."
The Tigers scored 12 of the final 16 points in the first half to take a 41-35 lead into the break. Illinois reeled off eight unanswered points midway through the second half to go up 51-50 on a driving layup by Tracy Abrams. The Illini took their biggest lead of the second half, 64-61, on a baseline jumper by Egwu with 6:43 remaining.
But the Missouri defense took over from there, forcing seven successive Illinois misses. Brown, Ross, Tony Criswell and Pressey chipped in with key baskets.
Illinois managed only three field goals in the final 3:29.