North Carolina (5-3) vs. Evansville (3-3)
Evansville, Ind. -- Roberts Stadium
7 p.m. -- ESPNU (Dan McLaughlin and Doug Gottlieb)
“We’ve got to find a way a to contain their transition and that starts with our offense. They are a very good defensive team, very active... We’ve got to have poise and take care of the basketball. We’ve got to find ways to get good shots and take good shots, and we’ll have to sprint back on defense because they’ll push it like no other team we’ve ever played against.” – Evansville head coach Marty Simmons
“They’ve played four straight games on the road, and there’s not many teams that do that at this time of the year. It’s hard to be undefeated when you are playing good people on the road, and yet they got a tremendous win at Butler. It’s something that caught everybody’s eye in college basketball. Evansville has a good basketball team.” – UNC head coach Roy Williams
Season to Date: Evansville enters Wednesday’s contest with a 3-3 overall record. The Purple Aces have won their only two home games over Oakland City (82-42) and Texas-San Antonio (77-73), while losing three of their four games on the road, including a 67-54 defeat at Indiana. But Marty Simmons’s squad pulled an early-season upset by knocking off then-No. 23 Butler (71-68 OT) in Indianapolis.
Deep Threat: Sophomore guard Colt Ryan is not afraid to pull up from long range, connecting on a staggering 56 percent of his 3-pointers (18-of-32) this season. The Batesville, Ind. native has made 60 percent or better of his 3-pointers four times in the five games that he attempted at least one trey, and hit five of his seven 3-pointers against Air Force on Sunday. The 2010 Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year ranks second in the league in scoring (16.8) and stands eighth nationally in 3-point shooting percentage.
Playing Tall: Forward Kenneth Harris may not appear to be your typical 4-man standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 185 pounds, but the St. Louis, Mo. has made a habit of overcoming obstacles in his path. After helping John A. Logan junior college to a Great Rivers Athletic Championship in 2010, Harris transferred to Evansville and made his presence felt in his debut with 21 points. The junior is averaging 13.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game and has countered his size with an aggressive driving style of play.
Stats Game: Evansville is knocking down 46.3 percent of its field goal attempts, including 39.3 percent from long range (35-of-89 3-pointers), while allowing its opponents to shoot 43.2 percent from the floor. The Purple Aces hold a narrow lead in rebounding margin (plus-0.2) and turnover margin (plus-0.2).
Ten Deep: While Ryan is logging 33.7 minutes per contest, his teammates are spreading the wealth when it comes to playing time. Ten different Purple Aces are averaging 9.7 minutes or more through six games. Starters Denver Holmes, Kavon Lacey and Harris are playing between 26-29 minutes per outing, but everyone else on the roster is seeing less than 20 minutes per game.
Preseason Poll: Evansville was picked 10th out of 10 teams in the 2010 MVC preseason poll, trailing its nearest opponent by 47 points.
Random Stat of the Day, Part I: Evansville is 0-3 when making more 3-pointers than its opponents.
Random Stat of the Day, Part II: The Purple Aces have blocked 12 shots on the season – two more than UNC blocked in its season-opening victory over Lipscomb.
Last Meeting: Tar Heel fans fondly remember when Evansville rolled into Chapel Hill on Dec. 18, 2008, as that marked the day that Tyler Hansbrough and broke Phil Ford’s career scoring record at UNC. Hansbrough needed less than 13 minutes to set the new record en route to leading North Carolina with 20 points in the 91-73 victory. Ty Lawson posted 16 points and six assists, while four other Tar Heels also reached double digits in scoring.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Evansville, 1-0.
2 Kavon Lacy (6-0, 194, Sr.) – 4.2 ppg, 3.5 apg
34 Denver Holmes (6-4, 180, Jr.) – 6.7 ppg, 4.2 apg
11 Colt Ryan (6-5, 210, So.) – 16.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg
32 Kenneth Harris (6-6, 185, Jr.) – 13.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg
41 Pieter van Tongeren (6-10, 255, Sr.) – 6.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg
22 Ned Cox (6-1, 185, So.) – 6.3 ppg
52 Clint Hopf (6-8, 256, Sr.) – 5.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Location: Evansville, Ind.
Conference: Missouri Valley
Nickname: Purple Aces
Colors: Purple, White & Orange
Head Coach: Marty Simmons (5th season)
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