Butler (3-0) at Ball State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Butler 3-0, Ball St. 2-0. Away Record: Butler 0-0, Ball St. 0-1. Neutral Record: Butler 0-0, Ball St. 0-0. Conference Record: Butler 0-0, Ball St. 0-0. Series Record: Butler leads, 66-38.
GAME NOTES: Two familiar foes will clash in non-conference action, as the Butler Bulldogs travel to Muncie to take on the Ball State Cardinals.
This marks the 105th meeting between these two in-state rivals. Ball State is the only team that Butler has played every year since the 1950-51 campaign. The Bulldogs hold a 66-38 series advantage, but the Cardinals are 29-23 in the series in games played in Muncie.
Brandon Miller has started his tenure as the head coach in Indianapolis strong, as his Bulldogs have begun the season off with three wins in as many games. Butler played its first three games at home, topping Lamar (89-58), Princeton (70-67) and most recently, Vanderbilt (85-77 OT).
James Whitford is also in his first season as a head coach at Ball State. The Cardinals suffered a road loss in their season-opener at Indiana State (82-73), but have rallied with back-to-back home wins over Taylor (73-53) and Southeast Missouri State (87-83).
Butler had a 14-point lead late in the second half against Vanderbilt, but let that slip away, before re-establishing itself in the extra frame and posting the eight-point win over the Commodores to remain undefeated. Star forward Khyle Marshall was outstanding in the victory, hitting 11-of-15 shots from the floor to finish with a team-high 26 points. Kellen Dunham posted 16 points in support, while Kameron Woods just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The aforementioned trio has been the driving force this year for Butler, which is averaging 81.3 ppg on .484 shooting thus far. Dunham is shooting a modest .436 overall, but tops the scoring list for the Bulldogs at 18.3 ppg. Marshall has been far more efficient, delivering on 68.8 percent from the floor, en route to 16.3 ppg. The 6-foot-9 Woods has been the best option in the low post, averaging a near double-double with 10.7 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game.
Ball State has had a great deal of success at the offensive end as well this season. The Cardinals are netting 77.7 ppg through three outings, led by the potent one-two punch of guards Zavier Turner (17.7 ppg) and Jesse Berry (17.0 ppg). Just a freshman, Turner has made an immediate impact in Muncie, shooting a sizzling 71.4 percent from behind the arc (10-of-14). Chris Bond rounds out the team's top scoring threats at 11.7 ppg. Senior forward Majok Majok is a handful inside, with 8.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
Ball State knocked down nine 3-pointers and had a 46-35 edge in rebounding in the team's four-point win over SEMO. Bond led the way with a career-high 20 points. Turner and Berry were right behind with 19 points apiece, while Majok recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Franko House played a huge part on the glass as well, grabbing 11 boards in the victory.
This game is always a spirited affair between a couple of local rivals. Both teams have playmakers, but the real difference may come down to homecourt advantage, tipping the scales ever so slightly in the Cardinals' favor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ball State 74, Butler 71
11/23 10:36:34 ET