The U-N-I Panthers are part of a four-way tie for first in the Missouri Valley Conference and will open the second half of the league race with a visit to Evansville. Panther coach Greg McDermott says they were “manhandled” there last year and were behind to Evansville at home early. McDermott expects another tough game even though the Aces have just one victory in nine conference games. He says Evansville has played really well in parts of every game, but haven’t been able to put 40 minutes together.

McDermott says when they put that 40 minutes together, they’re going to beat someone and he says the Panthers have ensure that doesn’t happen to them.

Evansville has played four of its last five games on the road and now opens a homestand against a U-N-I team that is 7-2 in the Valley. Evansville coach Steve Merfeld says that’s the way the league is and there are no days off. Merfeld says his team must get better on defense. He says they’re capable, but have to put longer periods of good defense together to be successful. U-N-I is 17-3 overall, Evansville is 5-12.