MUNCIE, Ind. -- Eight home games and road contests against three nationally prominent programs in the state of Indiana highlight the 2012-13 Ball State men's basketball non-conference schedule released Wednesday.
The Cardinals will make trips to Indiana (Nov. 25), Butler (Dec. 1) and Purdue (Dec. 18) in the first two months of the season. It will be the first time the Cardinals have ever played the Hoosiers and Boilermakers in the same campaign.
Indiana -- a projected top-5 team this year -- was in the Sweet 16 last year, while Purdue also won an NCAA tournament game. Butler was the national runner-up in 2010 and 2011, but Ball State defeated the Bulldogs last season at Worthen Arena.
"Our goal was to make sure we provided enough challenges in the non-conference portion of our schedule to help us get ready for MAC play, and we certainly achieved that," Ball State coach Billy Taylor said. "Our road non-conference games in the first couple months along with our road Bracket Busters game later in the season will provide some exciting challenges for our guys."
The Cardinals will open the season with three straight home contests, hosting Grambling (Nov. 11), Wofford (Nov. 16) and rival Indiana State (Nov. 20). The Wofford game is a return contest from the Cardinals' Bracket Busters game two years ago against the Terriers.
The other home non-conference opponents include Cleveland State (Nov. 28), Holy Cross (Ind.) (Dec. 5), South Dakota (Dec. 8), IUPUI (Dec. 23) and Norfolk State (Jan. 2).
Norfolk State upset No. 2 seed Missouri in last year's NCAA tournament, while Cleveland State has finished among the top three teams in the Horizon League standings in four of the past five seasons.
"At home, we really have a great blend of quality in-state, long-time foes like Indiana State and IUPUI along with some other teams that have also been very good in recent years," Taylor said. "It's a great mix of opponents we will have an opportunity to face in Worthen Arena."
The Dec. 8 home game against South Dakota is the first part of a home-and-home with the Coyotes that will see the Cardinals travel to South Dakota a week later on Dec. 15. That game will mark Ball State's only trip outside the state of Indiana until conference play begins.
The Cardinals' final non-conference road game will be played Feb. 23 in the annual ESPN Bracket Busters against an opponent to be determined at a later date during the season.
Ball State's schedule is now complete, with the Mid-American Conference portion having been released late last month. Here is the Cardinals' complete 2012-13 slate:
Ball State's Complete 2012-13 Schedule
Nov. 11 -- GRAMBLING (2 p.m.)
Nov. 16 -- WOFFORD (7 p.m.)
Nov. 20 -- INDIANA STATE (7 p.m.)
Nov. 25 -- at Indiana (TBA)
Nov. 28 -- CLEVELAND STATE (7 p.m.)
Dec. 1 -- at Butler (TBA)
Dec. 5 -- HOLY CROSS (IND.) (7 p.m.)
Dec. 8 -- SOUTH DAKOTA (1 p.m.)
Dec. 15 -- at South Dakota (TBA)
Dec. 18 -- at Purdue (TBA)
Dec. 23 -- IUPUI (2 p.m.)
Jan. 2 -- NORFOLK STATE (7 p.m.)
Jan. 9 -- at Eastern Michigan* (7 p.m.)
Jan. 12 -- KENT STATE* (2 p.m.)
Jan. 16 -- at Akron* (TBA)
Jan. 19 -- at Central Michigan* (7 p.m.)
Jan. 23 -- BUFFALO* (7 p.m.)
Jan. 26 -- at Miami University* (TBA)
Jan. 30 -- TOLEDO* (7 p.m.)
Feb. 2 -- at Bowling Green (2 p.m.)
Feb. 6 -- OHIO* (7 p.m.)
Feb. 9 -- WESTERN MICHIGAN* (2 p.m.)
Feb. 13 -- at Northern Illinois* (7 p.m. CT)
Feb. 16 -- EASTERN MICHIGAN* (2 p.m.)
Feb. 23 -- Bracket Busters (Away) (TBA)
Feb. 27 -- CENTRAL MICHIGAN (7 p.m.)
March 2 -- at Toledo* (2 p.m.)
March 5 -- at Western Michigan* (TBA)
March 8 or 9 -- NORTHERN ILLINOIS* (TBA)
March 11 -- MAC Tournament First Round at campus sites
March 13 -- MAC Tournament Second Round in Cleveland, Ohio
March 14 -- MAC Tournament Third Round in Cleveland, Ohio
March 15 -- MAC Tournament Semifinals in Cleveland, Ohio
March 16 -- MAC Tournament Championship in Cleveland, Ohio
Home games in ALL CAPS.
*Indicates Mid-American Conference game.
All times Eastern unless otherwise noted.