Image courtesy of Michael Keatin

The Purple Aces

The University of Evansville Purple Aces entered the 1977 season as a powerhouse in the NCAA's College Division. Three decades under Coach Arad McCutchan - who would go on to become the first College Division coach enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame - had produced five national championships, including an undefeated run through the 1965 season behind future NBA legend Jerry Sloan.

In the process, McCutchan's Aces had built a strong bond with their host city of Evansville, Indiana. Bolstered by a series of traditions that ranged from quirky (the team's uniform shirtsleeves and McCutchan's red socks) to the bizarre (foregoing traditional warm-up sweats in favor of flowing, multicolored robes), the Aces became Evansville's favorite sons, and their games became the city's must-see events.