#125 Evansville Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Evansville Purple Aces
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #125
Conference Rank: #5 Missouri Valley
 Evansville Logo
Evansville started to rebound from their forgettable 2019-2020 campaign. They still only won nine games in 2020-2021, but a 7-11 mark in Missouri Valley play was good enough to finish tied for fifth. With five experienced seniors, four of whom who started last season, returning, Coach Todd Lickliter has his team moving in the right direction. It may take another couple of years before the Purple Aces are seriously competing for a conference title, but this is a group that should be contending for the third spot in the MVC behind 2021 NCAA Tournament participants Loyola (IL) and Drake.
2020-21 Record: 9-16, 7-11
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Todd Lickliter   
Coach Record: 9-28 at Evansville, 227-183 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jax Levitch, Forward, 4.5 ppg
Samari Curtis, Guard, 10.1 ppg
Thomas Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jawaun Newton, Senior, Guard, 13.5 ppg
Shanar Givance, Senior, Guard, 13.3 ppg
Noah Frederking, Senior, Guard, 10.2 ppg
Evan Kuhlman, Senior, Forward, 9.3 ppg
Iyen Enaruna, Senior, Forward, 4.6 ppg
Trey Hall, Sophomore, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Gage Bobe, Junior, Guard, 1.7 ppg
Emmette Page, Senior, Guard, 0.5 ppg
Key New Players:
Blaise Beauchamp, Sophomore, Guard, JC Transfer
Troy Boynton, Freshman, Guard
Preston Phillips, Freshman, Forward
Blake Sisley, Freshman, Forward
Antoine Smith Jr, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Grant Tichenor, Freshman, Guard
The backcourt trio of Jawaun Newton, Shamar Givance and Noah Frederking give Coach Lickliter a great nucleus to build around. Newton is the best all-around scorer of the bunch, averaging 13.5 points per game, while Givance is the point guard who dished out 4.0 assists per game last season. Givance also added an impressive 13.3 points. Newton and Givance can shoot the ball, but it is Frederking who is the main outside shooting threat on the team. He knocked down 40.7 percent of his 135 attempts from beyond the arc. Evan Kuhlman is a fine shooter too. He also hit over 40 percent from beyond the three-point line. But while Kuhlman is shooting the ball, that leaves Iyen Enaruna to do the dirty work in the paint. Coach Lickliter also picked up junior college transfer Antoine Smith and a couple freshmen to help replace Jay Levitch in the frontcourt. Evansville can beat teams with their outside shooting, but it would be beneficial if somebody emerged in the frontcourt to play solid defense and help Evansville improve on their -5.2 rebound margin from a season ago; or at least not make their rebound margin worse since Levitch was their best rebounder.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.8 (309th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.6 (152, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (176, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 51.4 (339, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.6 (20, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.7 (22, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.8 (138, 6)
Rebound Margin: -5.2 (317, 10)
Assists Per Game: 11.6 (278, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.0 (28, 2)