Evansville’s Purple Aces Take On #1 In the Big House Tonight
When the Evansville Purple Aces play the nation's number one college basketball team tonight in Lexington, there will be men sitting on both benches sporting NCAA National Championship rings. Kentucky's Coach John Calipari got his when he coached the Kentucky Cats to the National Championship in 2014, and The Aces' head coach Walter McCarty got his as a player for the Wildcats 1996 champs.
Kentucky has a history of scheduling teams that are coached by UK Alumni. Kentucky also has a history of putting a sound whuppin' on those teams. Do the Aces stand a fightin' chance? The boys in purple were not overly impressive in their overtime 68-71 exhibition game win over Division II USI and a 79-75 squeaker over Ball State.
Meanwhile the Kentucky Wildcats bumped off the nation's number one team Michigan State to claim the top spot.
In the hundred years or so of collegiate basketball, the Cats and Aces have never met.
I searched to see if Evansville has ever met a number one ranked team since they began playing Division 1 in 1977, and I found a 1989 win in the first round of the Division 1 NCAA tournament over #6 Oregon State. That's as close as they got to beating a number one team.
If you want to make the three and a half hour trip to Lexington you can still get a seat for as little as $12.00. How's the view? Picture watching boat races on the Ohio in Evansville from the roof of the 5/3 bank building. OK it's not that bad but Rupp Arena is a very big tobacco barn, and you may never get another chance to see Evansville play there again.
By the way, the betting odds for the game have our Purple Aces a 25 point underdog.