Evansville (16-13) at Wichita State (24-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 27, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles Koch Arena (10,506) -- Wichita, Kansas. Television: KS22. Home Record: UE 13-3, Wichita State 15-1. Away Record: UE 3-10, Wichita State 7-4. Neutral Record: UE 0-0, Wichita State 2-0. Conference Record: UE 8-8, Wichita State 12-4. Series Record: Wichita State leads, 22-15.
GAME NOTES: The Evansville Purple Aces will pay a visit to Koch Arena for a Missouri Valley Conference matchup with the first-place Wichita State Shockers.
Evansville is seeking a third straight victory after defeating Wright State on the road this past Saturday, 70-58. Tonight's contest is the final road game of the regular season for the Purple Aces, who are just 3-10 this season in unfriendly confines.
Meanwhile, Wichita State has gone 15-1 at home. The Shockers are in the driver's seat in the MVC standings, as they entered the week with a one-game lead over Creighton with two to play. The Shockers, who notched their fifth consecutive victory with a 94-79 triumph over Detroit this past weekend, will face Creighton on Saturday.
UE claimed a 71-67 home victory when these teams met up on Jan. 13. That outcome snapped Wichita State's five-game winning streak against the Purple Aces, although the Shockers still lead the all-time series, 22-15.
Evansville raced out to a 17-3 lead against Wright State and spent the rest of the game in cruise control. The Purple Aces went on to shoot 53.6 percent from the floor and knocked down 5-of-8 3-pointers in that opening frame, while Wright State was held to 30-percent shooting. Colt Ryan finished with a game- high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds in the victory. Reserves D.J. Balentine and Lewis Jones chipped in with 18 and 10 points, respectively. On the season, Ryan ranks second in the MVC in scoring (19.2 ppg) behind Creighton's Doug McDermott. In conference play, Ryan is putting up 22.6 points per game and is shooting 39 percent from the perimeter. Ned Cox is second on the team in scoring with 11.4 ppg and is also a threat from beyond the arc, where he is shooting at a 43-percent clip (51-of-119). In addition to their long-range prowess, the Purple Aces are +3.4 in turnover margin (11.3 tpg).
Wichita State's Cleanthony Early has been coming off the bench during each game of the team's current five-game win streak. Given the results, a lineup change would not appear imminent as Early leads the team with 14.7 points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds. Carl Hall is next in line with 12.5 ppg and a team-best 7.2 rpg, as he is shooting a healthy 54.6 percent from the floor. Malcolm Armstead, a 38-percent shooter from the perimeter (47-of-124), rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.1 ppg. In Saturday's BracketBuster win over Detroit, the Shockers put a season-high 94 points on the board. Armstead led the way with 20 points to go along with six assists. Hall and Early each had 18 points and seven rebounds, while Demetric Williams scored 14 in the win. Wichita State shot 55 percent from the floor as a team.
With the MVC regular-season crown within reach, don't expect a letdown game here by the Shockers, who have been nearly perfect at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 83, Evansville 67
02/27 10:34:35 ET