Miami-Ohio (5-9) at Ball State (3-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Miami 3-2, BSU 3-3. Away Record: Miami 2-7, BSU 0-8. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: Miami 1-2, BSU 0-3. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 59-37.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals will try to pick up their first Mid- American Conference victory of the campaign as they host the Miami-Ohio RedHawks at Worthen Arena on Saturday.
Although the RedHawks are just 1-3 since entering January, they have played very well in the new year. Miami lost by only eight points to the nationally ranked Massachusetts Minutemen on Jan. 4 before downing Central Michigan, 77-70, on the road. It then fell to Western Michigan by just a single point in overtime before dropping a 59-52 decision to the defending MAC Champion Akron Zips on Wednesday. The RedHawks are ranked 10th in the conference in scoring offense at 65.7 ppg and also in scoring defense with an allowance of 71.8 ppg.
Ball State has lost three games in a row and 10 of the its previous 11 games to fall to a 3-11 overall record. Prior to a win against Oakland City, the Cardinals were experiencing a seven-game losing skid. Ball State was dismantled in its last outing as it was dispatched, 71-51, by Ohio University in Athens. The Cardinals are just ahead of the visitors on the MAC's scoring leaderboard at 65.7 ppg and rank 11th in the league in scoring defense (73.5 ppg.
Ball State and Miami will be meeting for the 97th time with the RedHawks owning a 59-37 lead in the all-time series. The Cardinals coasted to an 82-62 victory in Oxford in 2012-13.
In Miami's loss to the Zips, Will Felder led all scorers with 16 points, hauling in seven rebounds as well. The RedHawks had Akron on its heels as they took a slim, 25-24 lead into the intermission before a 5-0 run by the Zips at the start of the second stanza put them in front for good. Miami's lack of depth hurt it as its bench was outscored, 31-11, by Akron's reserves. Felder has been consistently effective all season with averages of 14.6 ppg and 7.3 rpg. The team has received a solid contribution from returning forward Bill Edwards, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last year and made his 2014 debut last Saturday. Edwards has posted 16.5 ppg and six rpg in two games this year.
Chris Bond tallied 14 points for the Cardinals in their loss to the Bobcats. Zavier Turner chipped in 10 points, while Majok Majok corralled 11 boards. Inexperience has been the primary reason for BSU's struggles. For the season, freshmen have accounted for better than 42 percent of the Cardinals� minutes and scoring. The senior trio of Bond, Jesse Berry and Majok are the main contributing upperclassmen. Majok is one of 15 players in the country averaging a double-double at 10.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Bond and Berry are netting 11.3 and 10.3 ppg, respectively. Turner is pacing the squad with 12.5 ppg to go along with 3.8 apg.
The RedHawks' record does not hint at how well they have played against tough competition as of late. On the other hand, BSU has been completely outplayed in recent action. If Edwards can continue to post big numbers, Miami should be able to climb in the MAC standings as the season progresses.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 73, Ball State 66
01/18 10:15:12 ET