Josh Blessing

After a near upset victory over then No. 16 Arizona, Ball State now focuses its attention to in-state opponent Indiana State.

While it might be difficult to move past Monday night's loss, coach Billy Taylor has his team looking straight ahead to a Sycamore team that is coming off NCAA Tournament bid last season.

"When you're coming off that type of season and have so many of your key guys returning, they're hungry to get back," Taylor said. "You certainly see that in the way Indiana State is playing. They're playing good basketball and playing together."

Ball State (0-1) has defeated Indiana State (2-0) the last two meetings and won nine of the last 12 contests.

Although the Cardinals have had recent success against the Sycamores, Taylor said Indiana State is a different team than in the past.

The preparation starts with shutting down the Sycamores two main threats; forward Carl Richard and guard Jake Odum.

Richard leads the Sycamores in scoring and rebounding with 15 points eight rebounds per game.

Odum, a Missouri Valley Confernece All-Freshman team selection last season, follows close behind with 13.5 points per game.

Both Richard and Odum present different problems for the Cardinals. For Odum, his 6'5" 215 pound frame will be tough for Ball State.

"(Richard) is a very versatile player," Taylor said. "He's very fast and plays very hard. He's a physical guy that scores in a variety of ways. He's got a nice jump shot and he can also get to the rim and finish."

While Richard brings a physical presence to the game, Odum uses his craftiness with the basketball to penetrate defenses.

Taylor said there is only one way to slow down Odum, constant pressure every time down the court.

"You can't lose focus and lose him for a possession," he said. "We have to get back in transition and not give him those direct lanes in the paint where he can reek havoc."

Against Arizona, Ball State's freshmen players saw a wealthy amount of playing time, which will be valuable as the season progresses.

"I remember we were up four bringing the ball down the court and all of a sudden their whole arena starts standing up," senior guard Randy Davis said. "You don't get that at other places. So for our younger guys to experience that atmosphere is something they wont forget."