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Know! Your! Foe! - Evansville.

The word "hero" gets tossed around all too often in our culture, but what Bennet Hayes (not pictured above) of College Basketball Road Trip has done in providing site members information on the Evansville Purple Aces despite a ludicrously short turnaround is nothing less than heroic.

For the latest edition of our Know! Your! Foe! series, Hayes offers superb, specific detail on Princeton's first round CBI opponent. My questions and his answers follow after the jump, which compliment last night's quick primer nicely.

If you cover a team the Tigers will face down the line, let us know. It would be great to talk with you.

There certainly isn't much time, but tell me what you can about the Evansville Purple Aces this season!

Little has changed from a year ago for this Evansville team. A CBI participant and .500 Missouri Valley team in 2011, Coach Marty Simmons' crew again posted a 9-9 record in conference on their to earning this CBI bid. It was a strong season for the MVC (8th in conference RPI), where Wichita State and Creighton were able to distance themselves from the pack, and create some national buzz at the same time. Five very good teams finished in a tie for third at 9-9 (yes, that's a five-way tie!) in what was a competitive and unpredictable conference season. The Evansville campaign was a lesson in said chaos, as the Purple Aces tested their fans through a combined seven OT sessions. A near season-sweep of nationally ranked Creighton highlighted the 18-game conference slate for Evansville, as only a late Purple Ace collapse in Omaha enabled Creighton to steal the split. This efficient offensive team certainly proved capable of playing with almost anybody, but a number of defensive shortcomings prevented the Aces from establishing the consistency necessary to make that next leap to the MVC's true upper echelon.

How good is leading scorer Colt Ryan (20.2 ppg)?

The Missouri Valley Conference's second leading scorer is a man you do not want to leave open. Ryan is lethal from deep (2.3 three point makes a game on 43% shooting), and is the owner of a sweet mid-range game, where his relative height and quick release allow him to elevate and score over smaller defenders. Colt will never be mistaken for an elite athlete, but he is a crafty scorer who uses screens and shot-fakes to get open and create free throw opportunities. Ryan is certainly accustomed to being the focus of opposing defenses, and with quite good reason.

Who are some other players we'll see on Tuesday worth keeping an eye on? Denver Holmes and Kenny Harris?

Holmes and Harris are a good place to start. Denver is another Purple Ace who shoots the ball well from everywhere, while the athletic Harris' slashing ability adds a different dimension to the Evansville attack. Another guy to pay attention to is Ned Cox. The MVC Sixth Man of the Year has proven to be a capable ball-handler and distributor, and at no expense to his fearless shooting from distance.

Looking at the numbers, it appears that as long as you hold onto the ball, you're going to score versus Evansville. Is that fair?

Without a doubt. As you alluded to, the Purple Aces do a pretty good job forcing turnovers, but good luck finding any other praise for their work on the defensive end this season. Coach Marty Simmons employs what is essentially a four-guard starting lineup, which has forced wings Holmes and Harris to spend way too much time guarding the post. Throw in the fact that most of those perimeter guys simply aren't great defenders (with the notable exception of PG Troy Taylor), and it stands to reason that the Purple Aces have struggled to stop teams. Oh, and what happens when Evansville does force missed shots? Far too often it has resulted in another chance for the offense, as the undersized Aces only managed to corral an MVC-worst 66% of the shots missed on their defensive backboard. It's not usually a good sign when your six foot point guard leads the team in rebounding...

Yet when the Purple Aces have the ball, they take rather good care of it and get to the free throw line a whole heck of a lot, shooting the ball exceptionally well at the stripe. What has led to all these whistles?

This is a veteran outfit with a bunch of offensive savvy. The ball moves, the motion is crisp, and these guys just know how to score. Ryan and Harris lead the parade to the stripe that you mentioned, but do it in very different ways. Harris is more of a straight-line driver that will create free-throw opportunities by attacking the rim, while Ryan is more creative and uses his opponents desire to limit his shot attempts against them, often getting to the line when defenders bite on shot-fakes. Bottom line is this is a solid offensive team with a core that now has a lot of experience playing together.

Which team does less than 48 hours between the game's announcement and the game's tip favor?

I'm going to go with Evansville here. Homecourt advantage is always a nice feather in the cap, but I think familiar surroundings have to help even more in the midst of these unusual circumstances. The NIT was also never a realistic possibility for the Purples Aces, so I have to imagine that Coach Simmons and his staff have had their players preparing for a Tuesday/Wednesday CBI game ever since their season ended in the MVC semifinals ten days ago. Don't forget too, these Aces have danced this dance before: they beat Hofstra in the first round of the CBI a year ago.

Evansville improves to 2-0 all-time against the Tigers if...

They can contain Ian Hummer and find their offensive rhythm. I don't see a player on the Evansville roster that can match up with the Tiger star, so finding a way to limit his effectiveness as a team will be key. Coach Simmons also has to be a little worried that the 11 days off will have his motion offense a little out-of-sync, so finding that rhythm sooner rather than later will be crucial.

Princeton moves onwards in the CBI if...

The Tigers can take care of the ball and contain Ryan. Limit turnovers and you will score points against the Purple Aces - it is really that simple. And while Holmes and Harris are nice complementary scorers, Princeton would have to like their chances if someone other than the Purple Ace star was forced to carry the scoring load.

Please plug who you are, where people can follow you or read more and share anything else worth sharing before you go!

My name is Bennet Hayes and I write for, where I dedicate much of my attention to the Missouri Valley Conference. You can follow me on Twitter: @HoopsTraveler. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the greatest month of the year!

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