1. Evansville has its best team in the six years Marty Simmons has been the head coach and there is a lot of anticipation for this winter because of it. However, the Aces were picked fifth in the MVC preseason poll and, realistically, could finish anywhere from second to seventh. The fact they haven’t won more than 18 games in a season since 1999, which was also the year of the last NCAA Tournament appearance, means there is an uphill climb tradition-wise to achieve the lofty goals.
2. If Evansville is to make a run, it will have to lean heavily on senior guard Colt Ryan — as well it should. Ryan was ranked the 24th-best shooter the nation by CBSSports.com — perhaps a little low — and will look to build on the 20.5 points per game he scored a year ago as a first-team All-MVC performer. Seniors Ned Cox and Lewis Jones and sophomore Ryan Sawvell will have to help on the offensive end, and Evansville hopes the 33 points Ryan scored in an exhibition game will be distributed more evenly.
3. Now, with so much attention paid to scoring, any turnaround the Aces hope to sustain will begin on the defensive end. With national ranks in the 300’s for many defensive statistical categories a year ago, you can point to that as the downfall. Solving issues down low — mostly just getting a productive body down there besides Sawvell — will go a long way, but the three biggest bodies on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores.