—UE’s baseball team gave Illinois State its toughest challenge yet in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, but the Aces committed three errors Thursday night that led to a trio of unearned runs and a 5-3 loss to the Redbirds. That defeat ended UE’s season at 24-34 after a fourth straight quality start by Aces pitching in the MVC tournament at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill.
—Top-seeded Illinois State moved on to the MVC championship game with its victory and gets today off. On the other side of the bracket, Indiana State and Wichita State will battle for the second day in a row for the right to play at the Redbirds at 7 p.m. Saturday. Wichita State and Creighton also appear on borderline NCAA at-large candidates. That selection show takes place at 11 a.m. Monday on ESPN U.
—UE announced the addition of guard Tyler Ptacek out of the Cleveland area on Thursday, but the Padua Christian High School product didn’t sign the traditional letter of intent associated with the recruiting process. Instead, because Ptacek had already signed with UNC Wilmington and received a release, he filed a grant-in-aid agreement with UE. It’s a common practice used in college hoops when players have already signed. The grant-in-aid is non-binding until Ptacek enrolls, but it still guarantees him full athletic scholarship.
—Creighton’s two-games-and-done run at the MVC baseball tournament this week ended the Bluejays’ tenure in the league. That goes for the Omaha media, too. Longtime Creighton beat writer Steven Pivovar reflected back on covering the MVC now that it’s all over in a touching Omaha World-Herald column.
—It appears UE has contracted Fieldhouse Media’s services for the upcoming academic year. The company educates student-athletes and coaches on how to use social media. Aces players are already pretty good with Twitter in particular, which speaks to the caliber of student UE recruits. A tool that sometimes draws negative attention on programs — even causes some coaches to ban Twitter for entire teams — hasn’t done so with the Aces.
—You can get used to see this: ESPN.com college basketball writer Jason King has Wichita State in his early top 25 — really far into that top 25. King ranks the Shockers, who return just about everything aside from guard Malcolm Armstead and forward Carl Hall, 13th in the nation heading into next season. “There’s a strong chance that next season’s Shockers could be even better than the unit that lost to Louisville in this year’s Final Four,” King writes.
—Remember seventh grader Katlyn Gilbert, the UE women’s basketball commit? She’s competing this week at the U16 USA Basketball Olympic Trials in Colorado Springs. Gilbert is one of 132 athletes vying for the 12 national team spots. The roster is expected to be announced Monday, and the U16 team represents the USA at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, which will be played June 19-23 in Cancun, Mexico.