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Northern Illinois Huskies at Ball State Cardinals men's basketball preview: Can BSU stop the slide?

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Can Ball State end the slide?

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It's like sophomore Spanish class. And you need to roll your Ls. All 15 of them.

Once upon a time the Ball State Cardinals (7-21, 2-15) were undefeated in the conference, on top of the MAC West, and had its sights set on....well, anything but this. As it is, the slide has hit 15 straight, and the Cards are down to one more shot at a regular season MAC victory.

Ball State has remained competitive, which is the nice thing we always say when enveloped in losing. If the Cardinals are going to end this skid, they've got to get increased contributions from the perimeter. Sean Sellers has cooled off of late, hitting just 2 of 14 from behind the arc the last two games. This followed a three game stretch where he hit 10 of 16.

Where's last season's MAC Freshman of the Year, Zavier Turner? Turner hasn't scored in double figures since February 14th against Bowling Green and has gone scoreless twice in the last five games. The turnover bug has struck again as well. Turner turned the ball over five times on Tuesday against Eastern Michigan, his highest total since January.

Now some good news, the Cardinal front court has been dominant lately. The last five games Bo Calhoun has averaged better than 17 points and just shy of 7 rebounds a contest. Franko House has been a great compliment to Calhoun's tear. In the same stretch House has averaged 10 and 6 per game.

If Ball State is going to win this one, they'll need to put together a complete game. Northern Illinois comes in a hot team, winners of three in a row, with all three wins comeing against the top three teams in the MAC West. Most recently the Huskies scored a 65-63 home victory over Western Michigan on Tuesday night.

Aaron Armstead has the hot hand for NIU. Blistering hot. Across his last three games Armstead is shooting 74% and on Tuesday against WMU he scored a season high 17 points, hitting 4 of 5 from behind the arc. Anthony Johnson, who has the potential to score 20 points on any given night, makes for a formidable Huskie back court.

Jordan Threloff adds a presence in the front court, though his contributions can be a little inconsistent. He went for 13 points and 7 rebounds against the Broncos. Threloff is just as likely to log single digits as he is a double double threat. Threloff will have his hands full with House, Calhoun, and Matt Kamieniecki on Friday night.

After this one it's MAC Tournament time for both teams. Join our open chat Friday night. Tip-off is 7pm Funcie Time.