Ball State (0-0) at Indiana State (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 9, 1:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Ball St. 0-0, Indiana St. 0-0. Away Record: Ball St. 0-0, Indiana St. 0-0. Neutral Record: Ball St. 0-0, Indiana St. 0-0. Conference Record: Ball St. 0-0, Indiana St. 0-0. Series Record: Indiana State leads, 70-57.
GAME NOTES: It is a celebration weekend in Terre Haute, as the Indiana State Sycamores will unveil a Larry Bird statue on Saturday prior to opening the 2013-14 season against the Ball State Cardinals.
An NBA Hall of Famer, Bird was a Sycamore legend in his time at Indiana State and his 1978-79 team will be recognized at halftime of this game. On the court, Greg Lansing's Sycamores will attempt to improve on last year's 18-15 overall mark. The team finished 9-9 in Missouri Valley Conference play, but really struggled down the stretch, with losses in seven of the last nine games, closing out with a 68-52 loss to Iowa in the NIT.
The Cardinals are also looking to take a step forward, after finishing last season at .500 with a 15-15 mark. Ball State also split its games in Mid- American Conference action at 8-8. BSU is beginning a new era, as first-year head coach James Whitford starts his tenure in Muncie.
These two teams are extremely familiar with one another, with this contest representing the 128th all-time meeting. Indiana State holds a 70-57 series advantage, including a 48-18 mark in Terre Haute.
The Cardinals finished last season with a .500 record for the third time in the last four years. The hope is that Whitford's reign will start with BSU finally getting over the proverbial hump. He has a solid nucleus to work with. with three returning starters and a couple of capable reserves. Senior guard Jesse Berry (12.8 ppg) is a talented scorer and will spearhead the attack in the backcourt. Balance will come in the form of all-conference forward Majok Majok (10.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg), who has the ability to post a double-double in any game. Senior forward Chris Bond (8.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) helps out as both a scorer and rebounder and will need to do so, as senior forward Matt Kamieniecki (6-8, 200) will redshirt this season after undergoing wrist surgery. The new offensive tempo for Ball State will be led by freshman point guard Zavier Turner, who will have the offense funneled through him right away.
Wichita State is the team to beat in the MVC, but if any team can give the Shockers reason to fret it is Indiana State. Lansing's 2013-14 squad returns plenty of talent, led by preseason All-MVC guard Jake Odum and fellow senior Manny Arop. Odum averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 assists last year as a junior. Arop was a steady contributor in the scoring column as well (12.0 ppg). Elsewhere, juco transfer Demetrius Moore (6-7, 230) and junior forward Justin Gant (7.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg) should help ease the loss of forward R.J. Mahurin (10.1 ppg), who transferred to Indiana Wesleyan. Sophomore swingman Khristian Smith (5.1 ppg) is expected to step up as well after a strong showing in the preseason.
It will be an emotional weekend in Terre Haute for the Indiana State faithful. The Sycamores have a ton of returning talent and that should carry the team to a win against Ball State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 68, Ball State 62
11/09 10:39:34 ET