Outside of its neck of Indiana, Evansville basketball wasn’t on college basketball radars entering the season.
That all changed on Tuesday when the Purple Aces stunned No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena to stake a claim for the biggest story of this very early basketball season.
Making the win even sweeter? Evansville got paid $90,000 for the visit.
Why the big payday?
The Louisville Courier-Journal did a dive into the economics of a mid-major school like Evansville and reported that the $90,000 payment Kentucky offered Evansville to make the road trip is standard fare from top-level programs.
The thing about those payments is that they’re expected to come with a win attached. Evansville’s visit was no exception.
Evansville’s low expectations
The Purple Aces aren’t some sort of mid-major powerhouse. They entered the season picked by Missouri Valley Conference media, coaches and athletic directors to finish eighth out of 10 teams in the conference. They’re coming off an 11-21 season last year.
They were 25-point underdogs.
Kentucky great leads Purple Aces
They’re coached by Walter McCarty, who was a member of the 1996 Kentucky powerhouse team that won the NCAA championship. McCarty went on to be a first-round pick in the NBA, where he went on to play for 12 seasons and be a journeyman backup.
He recorded some of the biggest wins in Rupp Arena as a member of the Wildcats and just walked away responsible for one of the biggest losses.
evansville basketball is back pic.twitter.com/yT933bIZ8R— Harry Lyles Jr. (@harrylylesjr) November 13, 2019
And his Purple Aces got paid $90,000 for the pleasure of delivering it.
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