Game Time: 7:05 p.m. Saturday
Location: Ford Center
Broadcast: AcesTV/91.5 WUEV
All-Time Series: UE leads 4-0
Last Meeting: UE won 71-67 in double overtime in 2008
Probable Starters: Ned Cox, Colt Ryan, Troy Taylor, Lewis Jones, Ryan Sawvell.
Complete Series History:
2004: UE 88, USI 75
2006: UE 77, USI 75
2008: UE 71, USI 67
Game Notes from UE: Click here
Oct. 22: USI coach Watson talks UE
Oct. 23: USI-UE exhibition ‘personal’ for Screaming Eagles
Oct. 24: Aces may end up using entire roster against USI
Oct. 25: USI, UE want rivalry to remain fresh
Oct. 26: DeWitt pegged as USI’s intimidator in the paint
Oct. 26: Freshman Howard could fill big hole for Aces
—USI has never beaten UE.
—The teams have met just four times despite USI starting its basketball program in 1970. All games between the Aces and Eagles have been exhibitions.
—Attendance declined gradually during the teams’ previous three meetings, all at Roberts Stadium. More than 12,000 attended the first game in 2004, 10,000 in 2006 and 9,000 in 2008.
—UE went 11-7 at the Ford Center last season, its first in the new arena. USI has never played there but will again this season when it hosts the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament.
—Both coaches except to play most — if not all — of their rosters and treat the game like a normal exhibition. It’s the first action for UE’s five newcomers: D.J. Balentine, David Howard, Adam Wing, Egidijus Mockevicius and Mike Leazer.
—UE went 16-16 last season, making the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament’s semifinal round. The Aces lost to Princeton in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.
—USI went 24-17 and won the GLVC Tournament.
—Marty Simmons is 67-88 in five seasons at Division I UE. Rodney Watson is 72-16 at Division II USI in three seasons.
Rodney Watson: “They’re going to play their guys. We’re going to play all of our guys. The game is going to be approached just like you’ve always seen the games of the past, but both teams are trying to win. Anytime there’s a scoreboard and you have uniforms, everybody’s trying to win the game.”
Marty Simmons: “I think what’s neat that I hear a lot — and I hope coach (Rodney) Watson does, too — is that we have people who support our program that are season ticketholders out there. Bringing the two teams together for this opportunity — it’s not your typical exhibition game, not in the sense of two teams competing hard against each other but just the atmosphere that’s going to be created in the Ford Center.”
Colt Ryan: ”Even though they’re quote-unquote Division II, they’ve still got a great program and players on their team. We’re treating them like any other team on our schedule.”
USI’s Lawrence Thomas: ”It doesn’t really matter who wins, but it’s personal.”
Outlook: UE won’t have film to see USI’s expected up-tempo pace or impacting newcomers before the teams tip, so this one will be about executing its sets. That may be a challenge, as Marty Simmons described practices so far as more inconsistent than he anticipated. The Aces should win based on returning talent alone, though history dictates it won’t be by much.