Ball State men's basketball hasn't won a season opener since 2012.

To reverse that trend, fourth-year head coach James Whitford scheduled the Cardinals' first exhibition game in three seasons on Nov. 3 against the University of Indianapolis.

"A chance to play under the lights,” Whitford said. "It's always a little bit different when you have a real game. So to get some of the jitters out before the first game and to help the guys get familiar with what their roles are going to be."

Ball State 2015-2016 Season Statistics

21-14 (Overall)

10-8 (MAC)

Leading scorer: Franko House (427), returner

University of Indianapolis Season Statistics

21-8 (Overall)

14-4 (GLVC)

Leading scorer: Jordan Loyd (605), graduated




Whitford said he has known UIndy head coach Stan Gouard for a few years.

"He does an unbelievable job," Whitford said. "They’ve been ranked No. 1 in the country in Division II a number of times. He’s a really good coach and a really good person. I think it’ll be a good test run."

As an NCAA Division I program, Ball State's exhibition games have to be played against a non-Division I opponent. Whitford said he was looking for the best opponent he could find, and UIndy finished the regular season as the fifth-ranked D-II team in the Midwest region. The Greyhounds also reached the second round of the NCAA D-II tournament and, like Ball State, finished the season with 21 wins.

Unlike most games, however, Whitford is not worried about what his opponent is going to do in the game. He is more focused on preparing his team for the season.

"I’m certainly evaluating individually too, but even more so than that is how well we execute collectively as a group more than I am concerned who plays well or who doesn’t play well.”

Whitford said practices have been focused on man-to-man defense, defending the pick-and-roll and transition defense. Whitford and his coaching staff are still getting the offensive system in place, so the game against UIndy will provide extra looks for Cardinals' shooters.

The exhibition game will tip off at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 in Worthen Arena.