MEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State heads to Indy to take on undefeated Purdue
Cards hope to score upset in Wooden Tradition
Purdue University causes matchup problems for every opponent.
Teams must contend with the three Boilermaker guards, all of whom are at least 6-feet-3-inches tall. Then teams must account for All-Big Ten forward Robbie Hummel.
But as Ball State University (3-4) prepares to take on No. 4 Purdue (9-0) in Saturday's Wooden Tradition, there is no doubt about who will be responsible for E'Twaun Moore on Saturday.
"I'm going to try and hold E'Twaun Moore to no double digits," guard Pierre Sneed said. "That's going to be our number one goal, defense."
No one has defended Moore that well since the first game of the season. Moore has scored in double digits for eight straight games, and averages 16.6 points per game to lead Purdue.
Sneed received a scouting report on the East Chicago, Ind. native from his teammates who faced him in AAU.
"[They said] when he gets the ball, don't let him shoot it," Sneed said. "I told them ‘I'm going to have him in there.'"
Ball State coach Billy Taylor said for the Cardinals to be able to hang with the undefeated Boilermakers, Sneed will have to shut down Moore while the rest of the team will have to play better defense than in their 86-81 overtime loss to Tennessee Tech University last Saturday.
"We were very good defensively in the first part of the week against Indiana State," Taylor said. "Against Tennessee Tech, we didn't do as good a job containing dribble penetration. They got in the paint repeatedly."
Purdue can put big numbers on the scoreboard and plays stifling defense. The University at Buffalo and Central Michigan University, both fellow Mid-American Conference members, found that out the hard way in their games against Purdue this year. The Boilermakers scored 101 points against the Bulls and held the Chippewas to 38.
Purdue is likely the best team Ball State has faced since visiting No. 1 University of Connecticut in 2003, but Taylor doesn't plan on changing anything.
"We have to keep the game simple," he said. "We have to focus on the things that are going to be important to us throughout the year."
The game will be played in Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as a part of the Wooden Tradition. It will be the Cardinals' first appearance in the prominent event and their second game in Conseco. Ball State and Purdue played the first college game in the Pacers' home in 1999, with the Cardinals scoring the upset.
Center Jarrod Jones is excited to play in the NBA venue.
"I'm looking forward to playing in there," Jones said. "I think it'll be a great experience."
More importantly than playing in Conseco, however, is a chance to make up for some disappointing losses so far this season.
"It'll be a great game to turn our season around," Jones said. "We've dropped some games that we definitely should have and could have won, and we lost to a couple big-name teams so far this season. It'll be a great shot to redeem ourselves."