The Butler men’s basketball team will begin regular season play on Saturday when they visit Evansville for a sold-out game in a new arena.
The game, the season opener for both teams, will be the first in the new Ford Center in downtown Evansville.
The $127 million facility, which holds 10,000 spectators, will be the home of Evansville basketball and the Evansville Icemen, a team from the Central Hockey League.
The Bulldogs come into the game seeking revenge from a 71-68 overtime loss to the Purple Aces last season.
“We’re ready to play better than we did last year,” sophomore forward Erik Fromm said. “I think we’re ready to perform to the best of our capabilities.”
Evansville returns their top four scorers from last season, including junior guard Colt Ryan, who accounted for 14 points in 41 minutes of play against the Bulldogs last season.
Butler’s leading scorer from last year’s contest, forward Matt Howard, is now playing professionally over seas.
Guards Shelvin Mack and Zach Hahn, the second and third leading scorers from last year’s game, respectively, also have moved on.
Butler and Evansville have had a long-standing rivalry since the 1920-21 season. Since then, they have played each other in 117 games. Evansville currently leads the series 61-56.
First tip is at 3 p.m. and will be televised on MyINDY-TV 23.