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Evansville (13-18) vs. Drake (15-15)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 6, 7:05 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Scottrade Center (19,260) -- St. Louis, Missouri. Television: MVC TV. Home Record: Evansville 10-7, Drake 9-5. Away Record: Evansville 3-11, Drake 4-9. Neutral Record: Evansville 0-0, Drake 2-1. Conference Record: Evansville 6-12, Drake 6-12. Series Record: Evansville leads, 21-20.

GAME NOTES: The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament begins on Thursday as the Evansville Purple Aces collide with the Drake Bulldogs at the Scottrade Center in the opening bout of Arch Madness.

This winner of this contest will advance to take on the undefeated Wichita State Shockers.

Coach Marty Simmons began his seventh season at the helm of the program by guiding Evansville to five straight wins, but his team has owned a sub-.500 overall record since early January. The Purple Aces' lack of success came in large part due to poor defensive play as they rank last in the MVC with an allowance of 72.3 ppg. Evansville did not play at any neutral sites during the regular season and went just 3-11 in true road tests.

The eighth-seeded Bulldogs enter the postseason with a .500 record overall even though they finished with only six MVC triumphs. Drake leads the league in 3-point field-goal percentage (.392), but also ranks second to last in turnover margin (-0.83). Coach Ray Giacoletti's squad is leading the MVC in 3- point field goal percentage (.392) and ranks third in rebounding margin with 1.3 more rpg than the opposition. In league play, the Bulldogs have been outscored by an average of 5.3 ppg and allowed their MVC rivals to shoot 45.9 percent from the floor.

Drake and Evansville split the regular-season series with the Bulldogs earning a 94-66 win in Des Moines but suffering a 61-48 loss at Evansville that was just one of two losses Drake suffered in the final five games. The Purple Aces' recent win gave them a 21-20 all-time series lead.

Offensively, Evansville is capable of lighting up the scoreboard with the conference's leading scorer D.J. Balentine at the center of its attack. The 6- foot-2 sophomore improved his scoring by 14 ppg from his rookie year and connected on 40 percent of his 3-point field goal attempts to net 22.3 ppg, which he accompanies with 4.3 apg. Balentine scored a total of 43 points in two games versus Drake this season. Sophomore center Egidijus Mockevicius paces the MVC in field goal percentage (.634) for 10.3 ppg and also positions himself well for a team-best 8.3 rpg. Freshman swingman Blake Simmons, whose father is UE's head coach, is producing 9.8 ppg.

Senior point guard Richard Carter spearheads the charge for the Bulldogs with 16.3 ppg and 3.7 apg, while his classmate Aaron Hawley is chipping in a career- best 10.3 ppg. The Bulldogs received a boost from their 5-9 Boston College transfer Jordan Daniels (10.1 ppg) throughout the campaign, but he ended this season with only 24 total points over the final four games. Drake experienced a significant drop off on the offensive end when it entered the league portion of its schedule. The team netted 74.4 ppg during its non- conference slate before producing just 64.6 ppg versus its MVC rivals.

One more win would guarantee Drake a .500 record in Giacoletti's first year at the helm of the program. While the Purple Aces and Bulldogs are very evenly matched, Evansville has the most explosive scorer in the MVC and much more momentum entering St. Louis.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Evansville 70, Drake 66

03/06 10:30:44 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
Final
PIT 0
MIL 1
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
Final
MIN 3
CLE 7
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
Final
SDP 3
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
TEX 5
1:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
1:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
1:35pm Today
BAL
BOS
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
1:35pm Today
ATL
NYM
1:40pm Today
TAM
CWS
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
2:10pm Today
KAN
DET
2:10pm Today
HOU
SEA
2:20pm Today
CHC
LOS
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
Final
SMISS 21
APPST 20
Final
TOL 34
BST 23
Final
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
Final
CIN 31
UMO 24
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
Final
LSU 29
MSST 34
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
Final
ARKST 21
UTST 14
Final
SALABAMA 6
GASO 28
Final
WVU 33
OKLA 45
Final
VANDY 34
SCAR 48
Final
NEB 41
MIAMI 31
Final
NMST 35
NMU 38
Final
HOU 47
UNLV 14
Final
FSU 23
CLEM 17
Final
ARZ 49
CAL 45
Final
ORST 28
SDST 7
Final
WASU 31
OREG 38
Final
BSU 34
LALAF 9
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
1:00pm Today
CLE
BAL
1:00pm Today
STL
DAL
1:00pm Today
DET
GBP
1:00pm Today
NYG
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
IND
1:00pm Today
NOS
MIN
1:00pm Today
NEP
OAK
1:00pm Today
BUF
SDC
1:00pm Today
CIN
TEN
1:00pm Today
PHI
WAS
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0