The Ball State Cardinals and the Western Michigan Broncos. Both schools play men's basketball. And both schools are playing each other tonight! What are the chances? Actually pretty good, being in the same conference and all. But did you know the game tonight will be played in Muncie, Indiana? Crazy info right there!
Conventional logic tells us the Broncos (16-11, 7-7 in the MAC) should be able to handle the Cardinals (7-18, 2-12) who haven't won a game since January 10. But conventional logic is like, super boring. So what does Ball State have to do to beat Western?
For a start, they'll have to try to tie up the Bronco guards who are on fire as of late. Western's freshman Thomas Wilder put up 34 points against Toledo on Saturday (albeit in a loss) while senior David Brown also had 29 points. Against a top-tier MAC squad. Yeah, I know. Wilder hit 10 of 12 from the field while Brown knocked down five three-pointers. Ok, so maybe conventional logic is applicable here.
Perhaps the Cardinals salvation will be with their big men? Forwards Sean Sellers, Bo Calhoun, and Franko House all scored in double figures in the Cardinals' last game, a 60-83 loss to Central Michigan. Forward/center play from the Broncos has been good this year, but certainly not invincible. Maybe if Ball State plays tough down low against Western's Drake LaMont and company, they'll be able to keep it close.
While it's tempting to get sleepy about games like this, late season MAC games can get weirdly intense. The Broncos are trying to stay sharp to maybe make a crazy MAC tourney run (hey, I still have hope y'all), and the Cardinals have to be so damn sick of losing they'll play reckless, fun basketball. Especially since they're a young team that's building.
With all that in mind, I'm thinking Western takes the cake here, 77-65. But I'm also an idiot and Bronco slappy, so what do I know? What do you folks think?