After two straight losses following a spurt of being the surprise team of the first week of MAC play, the Ball State Cardinals will play host to the Ohio Bobcats on Wednesday.
The Cardinals are coming off two tight losses to Bowling Green and Western Michigan after initial victories to start the conference season against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. Last time out, BSU really struggled to score in the second half, putting up only 19 points in the final 20 minutes of play.
Ball State is receiving production from a number of sources, with Zavier Turner, Seth Sellers, Franko House, and Matt Kamieniecki all providing at least somewhat consistent production. Turner has averaged 16.8 points per game in MAC play in a consistent role at the Cards' leading scorer, and young gun Seth Sellers has relished in quite the complimentary role to Turner as a freshman.
Even against a struggling Ohio team, Ball State will need to shoot better than 32.7 percent to defeat the Bobcats. Ohio is coming off of a 69-59 loss in the MAC Center at Kent State in which the 'Cats came out flat in the first half and shot 34 percent in the game. Maurice Ndour led all scorers with 19 points on 6-of18 shooting while no other Bobcat posted more than eight points. It has been that kind of struggle for Ohio in its four MAC games thus far.
Ohio has relied on Ndour to score since conference play started (much more so than Javarez Willis), and the Senegalese big man has contributed 14.5 per game. What Ohio needs now, is for someone else to step up in a consistent role. Willis has had games of 15, 5, 18, and 3 for the now 5-10 Bobcats. Expectations will be for Willis to start coming around, while also banking on the possibility of freshman Ryan Taylor and sophomore Antonio Campbell playing increasingly large roles on this team.
Ohio desperately needs a win while Ball State is looking to merely prove itself as a legitimate contender in the MAC West. To be honest, I have no idea who has the edge, but I'd give the benefit of the doubt to the home squad.