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USI basketball teams introduced to kickoff night one of the Fall Festival

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Following tradition, the USI men’s and women’s basketball programs were introduced at the 100th annual Fall Festival to generate excitement for fans, and officially kickoff the season.

“There’s so many people here. The environment’s awesome, especially with everything that’s been going on lately in the world,” USI Men’s Basketball Forward, Jacob Polakovich said.

On Monday night, the West Side Nut Club began the evening by introducing the individuals who make up the men’s and women’s programs.

Hosting Q&A’s with star athletes like Polakovich was one way they showcased the Screaming Eagles pride.

“It’s exciting times to now finally have the opportunity to showcase our talent in front of people and introduce our guys to the city of Evansville and the West Side Nut Club,” USI Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Stan Gouard said. “We’re beyond excited.”

One of the main topics of conversation was the excitement that fans will once again fill the Screaming Eagles Arena.

“Last year was tough because we couldn’t have fans, so it’s nice to be able to get fans back in Screaming Eagles Arena,” USI Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Rick Stein said. “We got the greatest facilities in the country to play in and we got the greatest fans.”

“We feed off them, their energy, and it really helps us get that extra push we need,” Polakovich said.

Practices resume for the teams following Midnight Madness, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 14.

“We’ve been working hard already in the preseason,” Stein said. “This is kind of the kickoff really to October for us, and October 15 is right around the corner, our first day of practice.”

The women’s home opener will be Nov. 16 against Davenport, while the men return home Nov. 18 to take on Oakland City.

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