MEN'S BASKETBALL: Cardinals looking for momentum
Despite losing control of the MAC West, Ball State searches for win over Northern Illinois
Senior Day is usually a time for celebration.
But with Mid-American Conference Tournament seeding still up for grabs, attitudes will turn serious once the game starts.
The Ball State men's basketball team could get anywhere from a No. 2 seed to a No. 6 seed depending on its result against Northern Illinois on Saturday.
After losing a pivotal game to Western Michigan on Wednesday, Ball State is second in the MAC West at 9-6. Because of the tiebreaker system, if the season ended today, the Cardinals would be a No. 6 seed in the tournament.
The Cardinals don't hold their own destiny, but certain scenarios could still give the team a better seed.
If Ball State beats Northern Illinois at home Saturday and Western Michigan loses, Ball State locks up a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the tournament. If both Ball State and Western Michigan win, the Cardinals earn the No. 4 seed based on a pair of losses by Ohio and Akron on Friday night.
If Ball State loses to Northern Illinois, they can do no better than a No. 6 seed in the tournament. The Cardinals would host a first-round game in Muncie against No. 11 Eastern Michigan.
Earlier in the week, the Cardinals got some.
Western Michigan's Preseason All-MAC forward Flenard Whitfield was suspended for the final regular season game for his conduct during the game against Ball State Wednesday.
During a rebound in the second half, Whitfield and Ball State's Matt Kamieniecki became tangled and fell to the ground. A scuffle broke out and replays caught Whitfield strangling Ball State's Randy Davis on the floor. No one was ejected, but double technical fouls were assessed to Kamieniecki and Whitfield. MAC officials decided to hand out harsher penalties.
Western Michigan plays at Central Michigan Saturday. Mount Pleasant, Mich., is an environment that gave the Cardinals trouble a week ago, so anything can happen.
Seniors Malik Perry and Adrian Tucker will be honored for Senior Day on Saturday.