Conor Hockett

Until the Mid-American Conference Tournament is here, Ball State coach Craig Roberts said he won't stress the importance of certain games to his team.

Even with the Cardinals stuck firmly in a four-team race for the MAC West Division title, Roberts said wins aren't a necessity at this point.

"We don't look at any game specifically to see what we can get out of it," Roberts said. "My constant focus is to make sure we're enhancing our in-game performance. You can win the regular season, but at the end of the day, it's the MAC Tournament you need to win to advance onto the NCAA's. That's something that's never been done in Ball State history. It's something we continually look to challenge."

Perhaps Ball State can ask Toledo for its blueprint to making that postseason leap when the two teams play Friday.

In four of the past six seasons, Toledo has won the MAC Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Rockets' latest automatic bid came in 2011.

Toledo (3-2-1 MAC, 5-8-1 overall) has the history of success, but Ball State (3-1-2 MAC, 6-4-4 overall) currently sits one spot ahead in the West Division standings. Only five points separate the top four teams.

"We still have a chance to win the whole thing [West Division], but we just need to be consistent," Roberts said. "Everyone contesting for the title is having their negative steps. It's about the team that can be the most consistent."

Roberts was referring to his team's tie against Western Michigan on Sunday. After beating previously unbeaten Eastern Michigan on Friday, Ball State dominated the whole game, but couldn't secure the win.
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