Jim Crews' Evansville Purple Aces entered the 1988-1989 season looking to build on their NIT appearance from the previous year. He and Aces faithful had every reason to be excited as UE returned two future NBA players in Scott Haffner and Dan Godfread. After leading Evansville to both the MWC regular season and conference tournament championship while averaging 24.5 points per game, Haffner took home MWC Player of Year honors.
Evansville's 24-5 regular season record earned the #11 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament. Playing on national television against Oregon State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Purple Aces beat #6 seed Oregon State 94-90 in overtime. The victory was the first in the Division I men's tournament for UE.
The Aces Cinderella story would come to an end in the round of 32 after losing to the #3 seed and eventual National Runner-Up Seton Hall, 87-73.