After a heartbreaking overtime loss to Indiana State Nov. 15, the Ball State men’s basketball team (1-1) heads to Alabama (1-1) Nov. 18 to play in the first ever matchup between the two.

The Cardinals will play game No. 2 in the four games of the MGM Grand Main Event.

Both teams are coming off close losses after dominating opening night performances. The Cardinals defeated Saint Louis 85-64 but lost to Indiana State 74-80. The Crimson Tide defeated Coastal Carolina 70-53 but fell to Dayton 72-77.

Ball State season statistics

Points per game: 79.5

Field goal percentage: 44.2 percent

3-point percentage: 42.5 percent

Assists per game: 15.5 

Turnovers per game:16

Alabama, mostly known for being a football school, has found success under second-year head coach Avery Johnson. In his first season he led the Crimson Tide to a 18-15 record and a National Invitation Tournament appearance.

The Cardinals will need to stop the balanced scoring of the Crimson Tide. In their season opening win, the Tide had three players in double figures. 

Graduate student guard Corban Collins had 15 points and three assists. Junior guard/forward Riley Norris added 14 points and 5 rebounds and redshirt freshman guard Dazon Ingram had 11 points and five assists. The Tide hit 10 three pointers in the victory.

Through two games the Cardinals have played with less scoring balance, but have two of the top three scorers in the Mid-American Conference on their roster. Sophomore point guard Tayler Persons comes in at number two averaging 23.5 points per game and senior forward Franko House sits third in the conference averaging 22 points per game.

The matchup will be only the tenth time Ball State has played a team from the Southeastern Conference. The Cardinals are 4-5 against the SEC with the last matchup against Kentucky in 2004 when the Cardinals fell 53-73.

Tip-off is at 8 p.m. Nov. 18 at Coleman Coliseum.