Last season, the Ball State men's basketball team had seven wins through the first 13 games, losing the final 17 games of the season. This year, Ball State is 7-2, riding a six-game win streak and preparing for a matchup against a 5-4 Pepperdine Waves.

“We’re 7-2 and we feel good about it,” head coach James Whitford said. “But at the same time, no one is giving out any trophies—whoever can improve the most between now and March is going to get what they want.”

Ball State's deeper roster has allowed consistency in all nine games played this season. Redshirt junior guard Ryan Weber has started and played in all seven games he played this season. He was forced to sit out all of last season, as well as the first two games of this season, due to National Collegiate Athletic Association transfer rules. 

Whitford thinks his 6-foot-6 wing needs to become more “unpredictable” given the options he has when running the offense.

Those options are to score or assist. Currently, Weber has 85 points on the season and 10 assists. That assist total is good for fifth most on the team, while he leads in average points per game with 12.1.

Using his ability to dish the ball off to his teammates would make him more of a threat on the offensive end.

“We’re trying to get him to be someone who’s harder to guard.” Whitford said. “What would truly make him unpredictable is to be a threat on both options.”

Sophomore forward Sean Sellers, last season's Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, has come off the bench to backup Weber in seven games to average 6.4 points per game. This production has decreased since last season when he averaged 12 points per game in the 30 contests. 

“He had a great week of practice,” Whitford said. “I feel like he’s in a good place and poised to play well. Sean is really taking some steps in the right direction and it's helping our team.”

Ball State will play host to Pepperdine University on Dec. 12, a team who has defended the three point shot. As a team, the Cardinal are shooting .363 from behind the arc this season, but the Waves are the No. 5 ranked 3-point defensive team in the nation through their first nine games. 

Opposing teams are 37-153 against the fourth-best team in the West Coast Conference

“They’re a highly respected program and I look at it as a great challenge.” Whitford said.