MEN'S TENNIS: Ball State striving for better seed

Cardinals could end up between third and five seed at end of weekend

The final match of the regular season will have postseason implications for Ball State as it takes on Buffalo Friday at 1 p.m.

A win against the Bulls would clinch the No. 3 seed for the Cardinals going into the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Ball State enters the match 12-13 (2-2 MAC) while Buffalo is not far behind at 9-7 (1-2 MAC). Coach Bill Richards is not sure who the favorite is.

"Too close to call," Richards said. "Very even teams."

Buffalo is the defending MAC regular season champion after going undefeated in MAC play last year. Buffalo was unable to repeat in 2011, losing to Western Michigan and Toledo. Both teams are the same two MAC schools to defeat Ball State this season.

"They only had one senior last year," Richards said on Buffalo's championship. "They lost to Toledo 5-2; lost to Western Michigan 6-1. The Toledo match was very close."

Buffalo is the only school in the MAC East division to have a men's tennis team. West division teams must make the long drive to Buffalo, which is over nine hours away from Muncie.

The MAC Tournament gives a bye to the top two seeds while No. 3 plays No. 6, and No. 4 plays No. 5. Toledo and Western Michigan have already clinched the byes and will play Friday for the MAC regular season title.

The No. 6 seed will be winless Chicago State, an added incentive to be the No. 3 seed.

"It's definitely important," Richards said on the No. 3 seed. "From a physical standpoint it's the difference between playing Chicago State, an easier match than the other options."

Ball State, Northern Illinois and Buffalo will fall into seeds 3 through 5, but the order is still to be determined.

Junior Zane Smith suffered an ankle injury April 13 at Butler and is questionable for Friday. Smith sat out Saturday's loss to Western Michigan and Sunday's win over Chicago State.

"He's doing well," Richards said on Smith. "Probably will be a match time decision."  


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