Ball State Visits Southern Illinois for Saturday Afternoon Men’s Hoops

FREE PRESS REPORT

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - The Ball State men’s basketball team is on the road again Saturday to face Southern Illinois of the Missouri Valley Conference in Carbondale, Ill. Tipoff is set for 2:05 p.m. CT (3:05 p.m. ET).

Saturday’s game is a return trip for the only meeting between the teams in the past decade, a 2012 BracketBusters game won by the Cardinals in Muncie.

Ball State (2-6) has challenged itself early this season with a schedule ranked as the 16th-toughest in the country by Jeff Sagarin. The Cardinals lost Tuesday at Marquette, while Southern Illinois (2-8) is coming off a Tuesday defeat at Murray State.

What You Need to Know            

Ball State heads to Southern Illinois at 2-6 on the season following a 91-53 loss Tuesday at Big East preseason favorite Marquette.Ball State freshmen combined to play 110 of the team’s 200 minutes and score 37 of the team’s 53 points at Marquette. For the season, freshmen have accounted for more than 45 percent of Ball State’s minutes and scoring.

The Cardinals’ strength of schedule is rated as high as No. 16 in the country (Sagarin), and their losses have come against teams with a combined record of 45-20. Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals with averages of 13.8 points and 4.0 assists per game. 

 Seniors Jesse Berry (11.6 ppg) and Chris Bond (10.1 ppg) are also averaging double figures.Senior center Majok Majok ranks second in the Mid-American Conference and 36th nationally with 9.6 rebounds per game. Majok, who is averaging 8.5 points per game, has three double-doubles on the season.

 The Cardinals are in the midst of a stretch in which they play three straight and five of six games on the road. They conclude that stretch Dec. 30 at James Madison. Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.

Scouting Southern Illinois          

 Southern Illinois is 2-8 on the season and enters the game with losses in four straight. The Salukis dropped a 73-65 decision Tuesday at Murray State in their most recent action.

 Six of Southern Illinois’ eight losses have come by single digits, and its largest margin of defeat was a 13-point setback in the season opener at Missouri.

 Desmar Jackson, a 6-foot-5 guard, leads the Salukis and ranks 26th nationally at 21.1 points per game.

 Fellow backcourt players Anthony Beane (12.7) and Jalen Pendleton (10.6) are also averaging double figures.

Tough Competition       

Ball State’s strength of schedule is ranked among the top 40 in the country by a variety of outlets: Jeff Sagarin (16), Ken Pomeroy (25), ESPN.com (26), CBSSports.com (39) and Warren Nolan (39).

 The Cardinals’ six losses this season have come against teams with a combined record of 45-20: Utah (10-1), Butler (8-2), Indiana State (7-3), Marquette (7-4), Valparaiso (7-5), and Cleveland State (6-5).

 Butler’s only losses came by two points to No. 5 Oklahoma State and in overtime to LSU.

Live Coverage 

  • Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play); Ron Hecklinski (analyst)
  • Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live video and live stats available at siusalukis.com.