—The UE women lost again Thursday, but this time was different. The Aces took Creighton, one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s top teams, to overtime. And even then, they almost pulled away to beat the Bluejays. As coach Oties Epps said of a game with 11 ties and nine lead changes, “Man, I would have paid money to watch that.”
—UE opened a 2.5-point favorite over Indiana State for Friday’s MVC tournament quarterfinal. It’s still unknown whether the Sycamores’ second-leading scorer, Manny Arop, will play. Either way, expect anything — that’s why they call it Arch Madness.
—Ninth-seeded Drake skated past No. 8 Bradley 81-66 in an opening-day game at the Scottrade Center, setting up a noon Friday meeting with Creighton. Seventh-seeded Missouri State later cruised past No. 10 Southern Illinois by a 61-53 score. The Bears face Wichita State at 6 p.m. Friday. Play wraps up with No. 3 Northern Iowa-No. 6 Illinois State at 8:30 p.m.
—UE senior Colt Ryan repeated as the MVC’s scholar-athlete of the year and Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall did the same as coach of the year in awards announced earlier Thursday in St. Louis.
—The highlight of pre-tournament press conferences came when Marshall said he hopes to get injured freshman guard Ron Baker, a starter before suffering a stress fracture in his foot last December, back at some point this weekend. Baker averages 7.6 points and 1.8 assists per game.
—Jim Benson, Illinois State beat writer at the Bloomington Pantagraph, is the latest college basketball expert to predict UE as the Arch Madness winner. Benson sees an Aces-Redbirds championship game set up by UE wins over Indiana State and Creighton.
—UE has plenty left to prove, even if it doesn’t win the MVC tournament. John Templon doesn’t have the Aces in his NIT bracketology but said this about their chances: “Seven losses to teams outside of the Top 100 in RPI is tough to stomach, but it’s basically the cost of doing business in the Missouri Valley right now. They’re certainly being considered and are right around the cut line. A couple wins in the MVC tournament might push them in depending on the opponent.”
—Krissy Meek-Engelbrecht will become the first former UE student-athlete to be inducted into the MVC Hall of Fame on Friday. Meek-Engelbrecht, the former women’s soccer player and current University of Southern Indiana coach, led UE to MVC tournament titles in each of her four seasons.
—A report from 2012, the Ford Center’s first full year, indicated the arena both spent more and made more than projected. In all, the Ford Center hosted 145 events — most of them UE men’s and women’s basketball games and Evansville IceMen hockey.
—Reports earlier today indicated an announcement would come from the Big East Conference’s Catholic schools in regard to a new league with the same name, including MVC member Creighton. The official announcement never came, but it’s expected soon.
—Creighton coach Greg McDermott — 48-year-old Creighton coach Greg McDermott — can still get up. The Bluejays’ athletic department sent out a video of McDermott dunking Thursday morning.
—After another mid-week rainout, the UE baseball team hits the road for a three-game weekend series with Kennesaw State in Georgia. Game times are 5 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday with radio coverage at KSUOwls.com.