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Ball State Cardinals vs Western Michigan Broncos men's basketball preview: Ball State looks to build on a strong start to MAC play

After defeating Toledo in an early upset in MAC play Ball State looks to take their record to 2-1 in MAC play.

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

After losing to Bradley to open the season, Ball State has put together a nice resume in its last 14 games. The Cardinals beat a Valparaiso team at home by three that is now a 13-3 team and are leaders in the Horizon League. They also opened MAC play with a very impressive home win blowing out Toledo.

Bo Calhoun has been the player to watch for the Cardinals as the senior has consistently improved each season. He started off averaging around two points a game and three rebounds a game as a freshman and sophomore. Although, with more playing time that has drastically increased in both categories to 12 points a game and eight rebounds a game. In three of its five losses Ball State has been under 63 points something to watch in this game.

A player to watch for the Cardinals in this game is Francis Kiapway who broke out for a career-high 21 points on Saturday afternoon. Kiapway did much of his damage beyond the arc making six of eight threes to improve his percentage on the season to 49%. The sophomore has turned it quite a nice season so far shooting 47% overall, 81% from the line and making 36 of 73 three-pointers.

The Broncos have had some tough luck so far losing a heartbreaker in their opener versus Kent State. After two single digit losses they look to garner their first victory in the MAC against fellow MAC West foe Ball State. They had a lackluster non conference schedule and didn't play very well against power five opponents.

Thomas Wilder has been a breakout player in his own right for the broncos. The sophomore is averaging almost 18 points a game while shooting 46% from the field and 80% from the line. The Broncos are going to lean heavily on Wilder to help them offensively if they begin to struggle to score. If Wilder struggles the Broncos do have other capable scores in Tucker Haymond and Kellen McCormick. My worry is that Wilder and Haymond each almost play 33 minutes a game and can take a huge toll on both players throughout the season.

The game will be on ESPN 3 at 7:00 pm Eastern in Muncie, Indiana.