PREVIEW: Ball State men's basketball vs. Eastern Michigan
Ball State men’s basketball (17-10, 8-6 MAC) sits atop the Mid-American Conference West Division with four games left before tournament play. This Tuesday, rival Eastern Michigan (13-14, 5-9) comes to Worthen Arena.
The Cardinals and the Eastern Michigan Eagles squared off on Jan. 24 and Ball State left Ypsilaniti, Michigan with an 88-80 victory.
Eastern Michigan currently rides a six game losing streak with the Eagles most recent loss coming at the hands of Western Michigan on Feb. 18 by a score of 88-80.
Ball State stats:
Field goal percentage: 46.7
3-PT percentage: 37.8
Leading scorer: Tayler Persons - 15.2
Eastern Michigan stats:
Field goal percentage: 44.7
3-PT percentage: 33.4
Leading scorer: Willie Magnum IV - 16.0
Ball State is coming off their second straight overtime win on the road with a 109-100 victory against Central Michigan.
Playing a 2-3 zone the Eagles leave a chance for a strong shooting Ball State team to have wide open looks from range. In the Jan. 24 matchup the Cardinals had six different players score double digits and shot 47.5 percent from the field.
Eastern Michigan (78.1) is the sixth ranked scoring offense in the league and Ball State (78.8) is the third ranked but not much separates the two in scoring.
Like the offense, the defensive side of the ball is almost equal.
The Eagles give up an average of 72.5 points per game and force opponents to a 41.7 field goal percentage. Ball State allows on average nearly 74.4 points per game and allows opponents to shoot a 41.9 field goal percentage.
Rebounding will be a factor, as Eastern Michigan’s James Thompson IV is the second leading rebounder in the conference averaging 11 boards per game. Thompson is also the Eagles second leading scorer averaging 14.3 points per game, but in the last matchup Ball State kept him contained.
On Jan. 24 the Cardinals allowed Thompson only six points and forced him into three turnovers while sophomore forward Trey Moses had a double-double and senior forward Franko House was one rebound away from his own double-double.
Eastern Michigan averages about 10.1 steals per game, leading the MAC, and the Eagles will look to force a potent Cardinals offense into turnovers for easy transition buckets.
Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. inside Worthen Arena. This is the first of two home games in Ball State’s final four regular season games.