For the second game in a row, the Ball State Cardinals take on a ranked opponent. The Cardinals managed a lead early in the second half before Purdue was able to pull away late. Virginia Tech won their first and only game so far this season, against Gardner-Webb.
Who: Ball State Cardinals vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
When: Thursday, Nov. 15th, 11:30 AM
Where: TD Arena, Charleston, South Carolina
Why: First round of the Charleston Classic
Line: Virginia Tech -7.5 per vegasinsider.com
Players to Watch
Trey Moses, Center, Ball State: The 6’9 center is ranked 19th in career rebounds among active players. However, he is coming off knee surgery and is working back into the lineup. As his knee gets stronger, so does the entire Cardinals team, especially on defense.
Kyle Mallers, Forward, Ball State: Mallers has been cold shooting the ball this season, but proved last season that he can drain the three. At some point he will heat up, and this would be the perfect game.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Guard, Virginia Tech: The 6’5 guard is a stat sheet stuffer, with points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, and a steal in the Hokies opener.
Isaiah Wilkins, Guard, Virginia Tech: The freshman scored 21 points in his debut.
Keys to the Contest
The Cardinals need to keep the Hokies honest. They have the length on the perimeter to challenge outside shots, but must have an inside presence to both keep the Hokies off the board and from easy buckets of the dribble. The Hokies are a talented but young team, and lost their leading returning rebounder from a year ago to suspension. This is a prime opportunity for the Cardinals.
The Hokies will be challenged in this game, and need to keep their composure when things don’t go well. They have the talent and shooting skills to shoot themselves back in, even if down early.
The Cardinals are a battle tested team with a lot of veterans. While the Hokies will certainly improve during the season, and are quite a good basketball team right now, I believe the Cardinals experience at all 5 positions will be the deciding factor. Also, the 11:30 tip time could mess with the minds of the younger players, leaving them a little flat. Look for the Cardinals to eek out a close win, 73-71.