Men’s basketball opens season in St. Louis
After the 74-64 victory over UIndy Nov. 4 in the exhibition game, men’s basketball is set to open non-conference regular season play Nov. 11 against the Saint Louis University Billikens.
Last season, Ball State did not play in an exhibition game and lost the season opener at Bradley 54-53.
“It was really important for us to get an actual flow of a game,” senior forward Franko House said. “We learned a lot from the UIndy film and if we do what we do against Saint Louis we can win.”
Ball State at Saint Louis
Time: 8 p.m.
Date: Nov. 11
Place: Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, Missouri
Watch: FOX Sports Midwest
The Cardinals led the Mid-American Conference last season in scoring defense, allowing just 66.8 points per game. Ball State was also top-five in the MAC in defensive field goal percentage, blocked shots, and defensive rebounds.
House said the Cardinals are focused on their team rather than worrying about Saint Louis.
“We are just trying to make sure we are at our best right now,” House said. “That is all we can do.”
The Billikens posted an 11-21 record playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference last season.
Saint Louis returns its second-best scorer in 6-foot-4-inch senior guard Mike Crawford, who averaged 10.3 points per game. Crawford led his team in 3-pointers made at 43 last season.
Ball State also shoots the 3-ball well. The Cardinals ranked third in the MAC in 3-point field goal percentage and were just five 3-pointers shy of the record with 305, and return 81 percent of that 3-point shooting production from senior guard Ryan Weber and junior guard Francis Kiapway.
The season opener against Saint Louis is a part of the MGM Grand Main Event in which Ball State plays at Alabama Nov. 18, in Las Vegas against Coppin State Nov. 21 and Southern Utah Nov. 23.
In between the Saint Louis and Alabama games, the Cardinals will play in-state rival Indiana State University Nov. 15 at Worthen Arena.
"It will be nice to come home and play a game before we travel more for this tournament," House said. "But we can't really focus on that, we need to focus on Saint Louis."
The opening tipoff for the 2016-17 Ball State men's basketball season is set for 8 pm. Nov. 11 in Saint Louis.