Ball State players are saying all the right things, but its obvious the feel of this season's Butler game is different.
With improved depth and scoring to go along with their defense, the Cardinals have the tools to beat the No. 16 Bulldogs team this season.
There are several concerns the Cardinals will need to address for them to pull of the upset on Saturday at 2 p.m. Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Cardinals (2-0) took good care of the ball in both of their games this season, giving it away just over 10 times per contest. Junior point guard Randy Davis has been especially good, posting an assist to turnover ratio of over 3 to 1.
Coach Billy Taylor said he was concerned, though, about their lack of ball movement at times during their game against Indiana State on Wednesday.
"We had some possessions early in the game when we were holding the ball too much," Taylor said. "We weren't getting enough movement of the basketball side to side as much. It was kind of dying in one person or two people's hands."
It is the first time Ball State plays away from home and the pressure will be on. Couple that with the swarming defense Butler likes to play on the perimeter, and the potential for turnovers can haunt visiting teams.
Facing a tall lineup versus Indiana State, Ball State was outrebounded by 11. Butler boasts an even bigger frontline, so rebounding will be key.
"We've really been doing a nice job defensively, so now it is just finish the possession," Taylor said. "As teams commit to the glass, they give up something in return. If you [other teams] are going to go to the glass strong, we are going to get more fast breaks."
Ball State averages over 10 fast break points per contest.
Butler is coming off a blow out loss to Louisville on Tuesday. Ball State is coming off two consecutive wins. The pieces are there, it is now up to the players to capitalize.
"It is obviously a big game," sophomore guard Jauwan Scaife said. "What ever the game plan is, we just want to be able to go in, stay humble and work our butts off for this win."