The AP preseason basketball poll is out and the Ball State Cardinals received 4 votes.
While that may not seem like that big of a deal to the untrained eye, it’s huge. Recently, the MAC gets their one bid to the NCAA tournament and that’s it, making the regular season virtually meaningless. At least with regards to the big dance. This year could be different.
Most times in life, where you finish is impacted a great deal from where you start. Ball State is on the radar. They also have several huge games in the non-conference schedule that could turn some heads. The season opens in Dayton. They then travel to Oklahoma on November 15th, Oregon on the 19th, and Notre Dame on December 5th. They host Valparaiso Dec. 9th. That’s an ambitious non-conference slate and one that could pay dividends in March.
They don’t have to win all of those games. In fact, they might not even have to win most of those games, depending on how well they do in the MAC. What they would need, if they are looking for an at-large bid, is an impressive number of wins and a win or two they can hang their hat on. Their schedule affords them that. The 4 votes means a few big wins early, and they might make the top 25, making the road for an at-large bid that much easier.