MEN'S BASKETBALL: Season preview

Two starters return for Ball State, the 2008-09 co-MAC West champs

Overall record: 14-17
MAC record: 7-9 (co-MAC West champs)
Home record: 10-6 (6-2 MAC)
Away record: 3-10 (1-7 MAC)
Neutral record: 1-1
MAC Tournament: Defeated Central Michigan 64-61 (OT) in first round, lost 64-52 to Buffalo in semifinals
Leading scorer: Jarrod Jones (11.2 points per game)
Leading rebounder: Jarrod Jones (7.3 rebounds per game)
Awards: Senior guard Brandon Lampley and freshman center Jarrod Jones named All-MAC Honorable Mention; Jones named MAC Freshman of the Year

Starters returning: 2 (Jarrod Jones, Malik Perry)
Starters lost: 3 (Brandon Lampley, Rob Giles, Laron Frazier — as well as Anthony Newell, who suffered a season-ending injury early in the season)
Letterwinners returning: 6
Letterwinners lost: 4
Newcomers: 9
Preseason predictions: Picked by MAC media to finish fourth in the MAC West; Jarrod Jones selected as West Division Preseason All-MAC
Home games: 16
Away games: 13
Neutral games: 1 — vs. Purdue Dec. 19 in Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse

Non-conference games to watch:
- Friday, Nov. 13: Ball State begins its 89th season of men's basketball with a home showdown against Valparaiso University. The Cardinals are 39-9 (.813) in home openers in Muncie, and hold a 30-27 all-time edge in the series with the Crusaders.

- Tuesday, Nov. 24: The Cardinals take the road for the first time in 2009-10 to play Temple University. The Owls, who were Atlantic 10 champs last season when they went 22-12, are coming off their best season since the 2000-01 season. As a No. 11 seed in its 27th NCAA Tournament appearance last year, Temple lost 66-57 in the first round to sixth-seeded Arizona.

- Wednesday, Dec. 2: Ball State takes on state rival Butler University at Worthen Arena for the 101st all-time meeting in the series. Butler, ranked No. 11 nationally, has been one of the best mid-major programs of the nation the past few seasons. The Bulldogs have nine all-time NCAA Tournament appearances, including last year when they went 26-6. Butler finished with a No. 22 ranking in the nation and lost 75-71 to Louisiana State University in the NCAA first round.

- Saturday, Dec. 19: Ball State plays preseason No. 7 Purdue University in Ball State's first-ever appearance in the John Wooden Tradition game at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Boilermakers return all five starters from last season's 27-10 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and lost 72-60 to No. 1 seed UConn.

- Tuesday, Jan. 5: Ball State travels to the University of Dayton, who last season lost 60-43 to eventual national champion University of Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Flyers finished last season 27-8 and were one of four mid-majors to receive an at-large bid in the tournament. It was Dayton's first tournament win since 1990. 


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