MEN'S TENNIS: Ball State tunes up for MAC Tourament with Illinois trip

Cardinals take on lowly Chicago State, Northern Illinois in final competition of regular season

With little left to play for and the worst team in the Mid-American Conference up next on the schedule, the recipe for a letdown hovers over the Ball State University men's tennis team.

The Cardinals travel to Chicago State University today before taking the road again at Northern Illinois University on Saturday. Coach Bill Richards said losing today to Chicago State would be nothing short of unacceptable.

"The same exact thing happened last year when we lost to Western Michigan," Richards said. "The next match we played was the worst match I've ever been a part of in my career. [Staying focused] has been a big topic of conversation this week. There will be extreme consequences if we have results like we did last year."

Ball State is coming off a loss to the University at Buffalo which destroyed any chance the Cardinals had to get the MAC regular season title. The next two matches for Ball State now become tune-ups for the Championships.

Chicago State comes into the match on a twelve-match losing streak, winless in all of its MAC matches.

"They are definitely the weakest team in the MAC, but we have to make sure we don't look past them," Richards said. "Both of these next two matches are 100 percent attitude matches."

Although Buffalo won the MAC regular season title, the Championships provide a clean slate for all the teams.

Richards said comparing Western Michigan, Ball State and Buffalo, they are all coin flip matches when it comes to the tournament. He said there is no reason to think Ball State can't come out on top as the champion this year.