October 31, 2006
Screaming Eagles tip off 2006-07 at Vectren Classic
Evansville, Ind. – The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team will tip-off the 2006-07 campaign against the University of Evansville in the Vectren Community Classic Saturday evening. The tip off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Roberts Stadium.
The Screaming Eagles are looking to get off to a flying start after last season's 27-7 overall record and their ninth appearance in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Finals since 1994. USI has won 25 or more games each of the last four seasons and will be shooting for a 15th NCAA II Tournament appearance in 16 years.
The Division II experts have high expectations of the Eagles in 2006-07 with a pair of top 10 preseason rankings (No. 9 by Street & Smith's College Basketball and No. 10 by Division II Bulletin). USI also was picked to win the GLVC West Division by the league coaches.
Leading the way will be USI's preseason honorable mention All-American Melvin Hall (Evansville, Indiana). The senior guard is USI's top returning scorer at 13.2 points per game (ppg) and is coming off last year's single-season school record 82 three-point field goals made.
A positive for the Eagles is being able to start the year with former honorable mention All-GLVC Geoff Van Winkle (Ferdinand, Indiana), who started last year with a broken foot. Van Winkle, who needs 22 three-point field goals to set the USI all-time three-point field goals record and 122 points to become the 18th Eagle to reach 1,000 points, is the second leading returning scorer with 8.8 ppg last year.
On the boards, the Eagles return last year's second and third leading rebounders in senior forward Keith Christmas (Gary, Indiana) and senior guard/forward Marty Wise (New Orleans, Louisiana). Christmas pulled down 5.6 rebounds per game (rpg), while Wise averaged 5.5 rpg.
USI lost the first-ever men's basketball contest with Evansville, 88-75, in 2004. The game, which was played in front of 12,441, was close throughout the first 30 minutes and was tied 51-51 with 11:54 to play.
The exhibition game with Evansville will be the only exhibition game for the Eagles this year. USI tips off the regular season on November 10 against North Georgia College and State University in the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic. The Eagles won Division II's version of the Preseason NIT last November and is the only team to win the tournament twice.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information