Ball state's Junior Ryan Weber defeates Valparaiso's defense during the game against Valparaiso on Nov. 28 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO AMER KHUBRANI
Ball State Athletics: Week in review, Nov. 23-30
While most students went home over Thanksgiving break, student-athletes at Ball State University continued winter season play for their respective athletic teams. Whether they stayed in Muncie, traveled across the country or crossed borders, here’s what the Cardinals have done in the past week of play.
In the team’s two games over the break, the men’s basketball team had two wins and outscored its opponents 159-120 collectively. Ball State knocked off Indiana University Kokomo and Valparaiso, which received two votes in the most recent National Collegiate Athletic Association poll. The win against the No. 1 ranked team on the Ratings Percentage Index puts the Cardinals at a 5-2 season record while remaining undefeated at home.
Rating Percentage Index
RPI is a quantity that is used to rank NCAA athletic teams based upon each individual team's wins and losses and strength of schedule. In college basketball, it is one of the tools the NCAA Selection Committee uses to evaluate teams for the NCAA tournament at the end of the season.
Last season, the Cardinals began the season 3-6 and finished with only seven total wins. This season is looking like a turn-around, as head coach James Whitford prepares to extend the team's four-game win streak with three straight home games against IUPUI (2-5), New Orleans (2-3) and Pepperdine (2-4).
The women’s basketball team traveled to Boulder, Colo., to participate in the Omni Hotels Classic. On Nov. 27, Ball State fell to Florida 79-85. Florida won the tournament after a 22-point victory over Colorado. In the second round of the tournament, the Cardinals knocked off Mid-American Conference rival University of Massachusetts 81-54. In that victory, senior Nathalie Fontaine and junior Jill Morrison led the Cardinals in scoring with 20 points apiece.
Ball State sits at 3-2 on the season with both of its losses coming from six points or fewer. This season is off to much of the same for the Cardinals as last season was, but much like the men’s team, the women are undefeated at home and have a pair of home games this weekend against Ohio Valley University (1-4) and Butler (2-2).
Ball State football wrapped up its season in a 10-48 loss against Bowling Green on senior night. The Cardinal’s finished its season 3-9, the worst record head coach Pete Lembo has produced in his 15-year career as a head football coach. Injuries and inconsistent play affected the Cardinals all season long, as they now prepare to enter the offseason.
This season, the Cardinals are losing numerous key seniors such as Jacob Richard, Jordan Williams and Ben Ingle, among others. While the team says goodbye to graduates, many underclassmen will remain for years to come, the most well-known of which is true freshman quarterback Riley Neal. During the progression of his first year, Neal finished among one of the best offensive players in the MAC and will come back with experience and offseason training under his belt.
The Cardinal baseball team spent its entire break in the Dominican Republic for five games against numerous national competition teams. Ball State finished with a 3-1-1 record over the five-day trip. Competition started on the second day for Ball State when it won and tied during a double-header against a New York Mets affiliate team (2-0, 2-2).
The next day was against a pair of Dominican teams where the Cardinals split a pair of games, dominating Escogido Reserve Squad, a Dominican national team, 9-0. They would go on to drop a 4-5 game against a Dominican Military Team, despite scoring three runs in the ninth inning. Ball State was able to finish off with a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals affiliate team on Nov. 28 before heading home.