What to Expect: Evansville

  • 11/15/2011 9:15 am in

(Photo credit: CourierPress.com)

Indiana will make the 135-mile trip southwest to Evansville on Wednesday night for its first road test of the season in the Purple Aces’ brand new $127 million Ford Center.

Here’s a look at what to expect out of Evansville, who finished last season 16-16 and fell to the Hoosiers 67-54 in Assembly Hall:


Junior guard Colt Ryan, a former AAU teammate of Jordan Hulls, is one of four returning starters for fifth-year coach Marty Simmons. The Batesville product is arguably the best shooter in the Missouri Valley Conference and will be a key matchup for the Hoosiers on the perimeter. Ryan knocked down close to 41 percent of his 3-point attempts and shot 87 percent from the foul line as a sophomore. He scored 23 points in Evansville’s season opening win over Butler in overtime, but shot just 4-of-15.

Forward Kenny Harris is expected to anchor the frontcourt for the Purple Aces. The 6-foot-6 senior will give up a couple of inches to IU on the frontline, but was one of the top 10 defensive rebounders in the Missouri Valley Conference last season. Beyond Harris, Simmons has little returning experience or size in the paint. Senior guard Denver Holmes (7.8 ppg) and junior guard Ned Cox (7.3 ppg) should also play significant roles.


Evansville’s defensive turnover percentage a season ago — 22.3 — was the 52nd best mark nationally. But when their opponents weren’t coughing up the ball, the Purple Aces were allowing one of the country’s worst effective field goal percentages. Evansville opponents shot an eFG percentage of 52, which ranked 297th nationally. They were woeful guarding inside the 3-point line (51.6 percent allowed from 2-point range), which could bode well for the Hoosiers if they’re able to establish Cody Zeller or Christian Watford down low early.

And somewhat similar to IU last season, Evansville had a tough time keeping opponents off the foul line. The Purple Aces’ opponent free throw rate ranked 267th nationally. That was mostly negated by Evansville getting to the line at the 18th best rate in the land. With both teams fouling at a frequent rate, this game could turn into a free throw contest. In Saturday’s opener, Evansville and Butler shot a combined 67 free throws.


Unlike Chattanooga, Evansville (sans Ryan) doesn’t hoist up many shots from behind the 3-point arc. Only 26 percent of the Purple Aces’ field goal attempts last season were 3-pointers. That was 317th in the country.

But even with an attack mostly concentrated inside the arc, Evansville is a poor offensive rebounding team. Their offensive rebounding percentage of just 25.6 ranked 326th nationally. Besides the aforementioned Harris, the Purple Aces don’t return a single player that ranked in the top 40 in the Missouri Valley Conference in offensive rebounding percentage.


Evansville opened the Ford Center on Saturday with an upset win over Butler and dating back to last season, the Purple Aces are 13-3 over their last 16 home games. The Butler game did not sell out, but Evansville has already announced a sellout for Wednesday.

Indiana last won away from Assembly Hall on January 21, 2010 at Penn State, which is the only road win of the Tom Crean era.


Arena: Ford Center (11,000)
Student Enrollment: 3,050
Established: 1854
Notable Sports Alumni: Jerry Sloan (former Utah Jazz coach), Andy Benes (former MLB all-star pitcher)

All stats in this piece via KenPom.com.

Filed to:

  • Mgilly

    As a IU grad student and season ticket holder, I’ll be attending sitting in my dad’s season tickets 3 rows off the floor at the Ford Center. I was at Saturday’s game and the Aces are by far the best team we have played yet (not saying much). Go Hoosiers!

  • Anonymous

    Diesel !  Was wondering where you had been. Two games in and didn’t remember seeing you on here any.

  • Diesel

    Yeah, it’s been awhile.  I’ve been reading, just not commenting.  Thanks man.

  • Anonymous

    Norad put the clamps on Colt pretty well in the Butler game. It wasn’t till after he fouled out in OT that Colt got some decent looks. Hopefully Victor can do similar work.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll be there tonight. I expect as many IU fans as UE fans.

    I too was at the UE/Butler game, and you’re right, Jahr was definitely the catalyst for the Aces. He’s a bit of a Will Sheehey for them without quite as much atheleticism. Also, the Nix kid can penetrate extremely well, he will be tough test for Jordy if he has to gaurd him.

  • Unless you subscribe to one of the providers that participates, there is no work around.

  • Anonymous

    Always enjoy reading your comments glad you’re back to using the keyboard.

    The thought of you being abducted by a pUKe fan that had stayed for some extra therapy after everyone else had left had crossed my mind but the ITH’ers had not received any kind of a ransom note so I figured you were just reading and not commenting.

    P. S.  I would have been one of them that chipped in to pay the ransom even if it meant dipping into my beer money. Now that is dedication.

  • Anonymous

    What do I expect- no TV. I long for the days when all (but network) games were on channel 4 out of Indy.  Money has changed everything, of course, it always does.

  • Anonymous

    I know how you feel, my home computer is down and ESPN3 doesn’t work on my work computer. 

  • stonaroni

    Maybe we can get some Zellerington tonight.  AE will feed the Z!

  • If you or your kid have an Xbox, you can watch ESPN3 games on it.

  • Anonymous

    Does the internet that the Xbox uses have to have to be on the ISP list for it to work or will it show it regardless of who your internet provider is ?

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t Crean beat Chaminade in Maui his first year?  So this could be the third road win of the Tom Crean era.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a deal through XBox Live, so I think it  should work. It’s worth a shot as it doesn’t cost any money or take up much space as far as memory goes.

  • I’ve been to a fair number of UE games over the past 10 years or so (I have a hook-up for free tix – hey, it’s college hoops!) and they’ve had low attendance (normally under 5k per game) unless there is a bigger name school there.  When Purdue played here about 5 years ago at the old Roberts Stadium it was probably 35% Purdue/65% UE fans.  Last Saturday vs Butler there was probably a 25%/75% split, but were talking BUTLER, not IU or Purdue.  And, Southern Indiana is usually more traditional IU country that Purdue.  I would expect the numbers to be around 40/60 or 50/50. 

    And dmbcubs21 is right about the UE fans, they are normally a more pedestrian crowd than rabid fans. They appreciate the games, but aren’t vocal until it gets close.  The UE student section is pretty tame as well, with maybe 500 students there for the Butler game. 

    Looking forward to the game tonight – GO HOOSIERS! 

  • Yes, I watched the IU/Ball State football game and I believe North Texas as well and had pretty luck on WOW cable in Evansville.  Picture was a bit pixelated at times, but may have been PC issues more than connection.   I didn’t throw up on the HDTV, but would think it would be passable.

  • Anonymous

    Nope, as I can attest to, your ISP provider has to be on that list…  ESPN doesn’t work through my Xbox as my provider doesn’t have a deal with ESPN

  • Even though IU beat Chaminade in Maui I think they count it as neutral court since it is part of a tournament… am I wrong?

  • mimobrow

    They are possibly the best team we play for the next 13 games (besides Kentucky), and will be thirsty to beat their big brother. Expect a fight, but I expect IU to win by 20 if Hulls gets hot. I am always optimistic though

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t sure just because Chaminade basically hosts the tournament if that counted.

  • Anonymous

    WELLLL… #^%&*)$!!

    Thanks for the info anyway 🙁 ggrrrrrrrr

    There has to be some way the university can prevent this type of thing from happening. Maybe the ITH’ers should start a petition drive to demand that this not happen ever again. With the following that they have there is absolutely no reason for something like this to come about…..EVER !!!

  • Is there a way to voice my disinterest in watching a game on my 15in laptop compared to the 42in i have up front

  • Anonymous

    The way you guys talk they will be serving soup in the stands tonight.  Should be a good atmosphere.

  • Anonymous

    would probably have to rank NC State & Notre Dame ahead of UE.

  • jaywiz

    remyngton anyone?

  • Anonymous

    Although Evansville is not one of the tougher opponents IU will face this year, a road win would be huge. It would go a long way to making me feel better about what’s to come. A road win here and 2 of the 4 tougher matchups and I’ll start believing we could be decent this year. Want to see good D and Crean to allow lineups enough time together to gel. Go Hoosiers!

  • Anonymous

    You’re right about the picture. It happens to me too

  • Anonymous

    At this point I’d be thrilled to be able to watch it on my laptop, but I can’t even do that.  It’s completely inexcusable in this day and age that I can’t see the damn game on my television.
    Not only that, because I live too friggin’ close to the state line, there isn’t even a radio station within range carrying IU basketball that I can pick up at night.