EDITORIAL: Cards cold-shouldered by coaches

Wins over the nation's Nos. 3 and 4 teams and a tough loss to the nation's No. 1 team would make you believe that your team would be ranked in the Top 15 -- at least.

But the coaches that vote for USA Today and ESPN do not think so.

Ball State defeated Kansas 93-91 and upended UCLA 91-73 before losing to Duke 83-71 in the Maui Invitational. Those are impressive games giving Ball State basketball national coverage that it has not seen since 1990's Sweet Sixteen team.

Yet the Cardinals are ranked 25th in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll.

This is a cold slap in the face to another "small" school trying to make it in the world of "big time" college basketball. An upset is one thing -- a one-time beating of a ranked opponent. What happened in Maui was not a fluke. Ball State defeated two ranked teams on back-to-back nights.

But the coaches in the country don't feel the same way. It is nice to be recognized with a national ranking -- something Ball State hasn't had in 11 years. But this team deserves more respect than just inching its way into the poll. The Cardinals didn't inch their way to a victory over UCLA. They didn't cramp up and fall to Kansas, and they didn't roll over and play dead for Duke.

Ball State earned respect more than No. 25.


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