By Nathan Hutchinson
Register staff report
The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team will face the University of Evansville on Saturday in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
The game, scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., will be played at the Physical Activities Center on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. The venue change for the game is due to minor league hockey games being played this weekend at UE’s Ford Center.
The Colonels (25-9) beat Gardner-Webb, 69-62, on the road on Tuesday. Evansville (19-14) knocked off the Ohio Valley Conference’s Tennessee State, 84-72, at home on Tuesday.
The live radio broadcast of the game is available in the Richmond area on WCYO 100.7 FM, and can be heard worldwide on EKUSports.com. A FREE live video broadcast of the contest is available on WatchCollegeInsider.com.
All tickets are general admission and are $15. Call the Evansville ticket office at 812-488-2237 for more information.
Tuesday’s win at Gardner-Webb was the first for EKU in a national postseason tournament in 68 years. EKU’s last postseason national tournament victory came on March 17, 1945. EKU defeated Southern Illinois in the third-place game of the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) Tournament. The NAIB became the NAIA in 1952.
This is EKU’s first postseason appearance since playing in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) in 2010 and third postseason trip in the last eight years.
EKU sophomore forward Eric Stutz is from nearby Newburgh, Ind. He played at Castle High School with the son of Evansville Head Coach Marty Simmons. Blake Simmons signed to play with the Purple Aces next season.
Stutz has averaged 16.7 points, seven rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals in three postseason games. He’s made 71 percent of his shots from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line during the last three games.
The Purple Aces finished fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 10-8 record. Ryan Colt, a 6-foot-5 senior guard, leads the team in scoring (19.6 ppg), assists (4.1 apg) and steals (1.5 spg). Troy Taylor, a 6-0 senior guard, leads the team in rebounding (7.1 rpg) and averages 8.2 points per contest.
Evansville averages 68.5 points and allows 64.8 per game. The Purple Aces have been out-rebounded for the season, but commit 3.3 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents.
In addition to Tennessee State, other common opponents between the two teams include Tennessee Tech and Murray State. Evansville won at TTU by 12 in November and lost at home to Murray State by 12. EKU split a pair of games with Tennessee State, beat Tennessee Tech by margins of 11 and 15 and split a pair of games against Murray State.
The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament was created in 2009. What began as a 16-team event, quickly expanded to 24 teams in 2011 and is now a 32-team postseason tournament, with invitations extended only to teams outside of the BCS power conferences.
There is no formal bracket for the tournament. The match-ups for each round are determined after the preceding round is completed. Quarterfinal games will be played March 26-27 and semifinal games March 29-30. The championship game will be played on April 2.