Evansville (1-0) at IUPUI (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 12, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Jungle (1,215) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: HTSN. Home Record: Evansville 1-0, IUPUI 0-0. Away Record: Evansville 0-0, IUPUI 0-1. Neutral Record: Evansville 0-0, IUPUI 0-0. Conference Record: Evansville 0-0, IUPUI 0-0. Series Record: Evansville leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams from the Hoosier State will be matched up on Tuesday evening when the Evansville Purple Aces pay a visit to the IUPUI Jaguars at the Jungle in Indianapolis.
Evansville, a team that won 20 games last year, got off on the right foot to begin the 2013-14 campaign as it secured an 87-69 victory over Martin Methodist. Though the win came against an opponent from outside of Division I, the Purple Aces will certainly take it, especially after getting a 29-point effort in the contest from D.J. Balentine. The Purple Aces shot an impressive 56.6 percent from the field in the victory, while assisting on 22 of their made field goals. Last year was a real step forward for the Purple Aces, who had not won 20 games since 1999. Evansville begins a three-game homestand next against Mercer.
IUPUI was on the road in its season opener and it did not return home with a victory. The Jaguars went up against Utah Valley and suffered a 74-66 setback. IUPUI shot at a 40.7 percent clip in the contest but missed eight shots from the free-throw line, seven of which came during the final 20 minutes. IUPUI is not building off a promising campaign from last year as they managed just six wins in 32 games. It was the second straight losing season for the Jaguars, with both coming under head coach Todd Howard. IUPUI, which hasn't won a game since last December, matches up with Southeast Missouri State next.
Even though these two programs each call the state of Indiana home this matchup will be just the second ever between them. Craig Snow scored 31 points to carry Evansville to a 74-61 victory in the first meeting during the 1999-2000 season.
With Colt Ryan finally saying goodbye to Evansville after last season, the concern for the Purple Aces this year was finding a replacement for a player that scored at least 20 points per game in his final two years and averaged 17.8 for his career. Balentine's showing against Martin Methodist may have been a glimpse of things to come. Balentine didn't just score, he also handed out nine assists, and that level of playmaking could really ease the transition for Evansville, which is looking for the success of last season but with a number of different contributors. Balentine was aided by 15 points from Adam Wing, who didn't try to do too much as he had just eight field goals attempts, six of which found the bottom of the net. It is unlikely that the Purple Aces can keep up the rate of success they had against Martin Methodist, but continued strong play from Balentine and Wing is expected.
As for IUPUI there is still a ton of work to do. In the loss to Utah Valley the Jaguars were inconsistent and were especially weak from beyond the arc (3- of-16). Mitch Patton, who averaged 13.7 points per game last season, did all he could to pace the Jaguars, as he posted 26 points and 10 rebounds to start the year off with a double-double. Patton had just a pair of double-doubles last season, but as the leading returning scorer, he will be expected to keep up the offensive success as the season continues on. Ian Chiles (14 points) was a double-digit scorer for the Jaguars last season, but he played in only four games. His return as a starter was a mixed bag as he scored in double figures, but also knocked down just 5-of-15 shots from the field. Marcellus Barksdale (10 points, five rebounds, four assists) turned in a strong all- around performance in the opener but also struggled to hit shots consistently.
Taking impressions from a single game can often be dangerous, but the hole that was left by Ryan needs to be filled in some way and Balentine looks like the perfect candidate to do so. Assuming the Purple Aces are able to at least near their offensive performance from the opener, another win should be in the forecast.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Evansville 75, IUPUI 66
11/12 10:35:46 ET