MUNCIE, Ind. -- Marquee road trips to Utah and Marquette along with a trio of traditional in-state rivalry games highlight the non-conference schedule for the Ball State men’s basketball team.
The Cardinals announced the schedule Tuesday, finalizing the slate for the 2013-14 season. The Mid-American Conference schedule was announced earlier in the month.
Five of Ball State’s non-conference opponents are teams that appeared in the postseason last year, including four -- Butler, Marquette, Valparaiso and James Madison -- that played in the NCAA tournament.
“We are excited about the non-conference schedule,” first-year Ball State coach James Whitford said. “We will play some very difficult games on the road, and we have maintained regional rivalries against Indiana State and Valparaiso. We also have an exciting home game for our fans against Butler.”
After a Nov. 4 exhibition against Marian at Worthen Arena, the Cardinals open the season on the road Nov. 9 at Indiana State. The longest standing rivalry for Ball State, the matchup between the Cardinals and Sycamores will be the 128th all-time.
Ball State’s home opener Nov. 12 against Taylor begins a three-game home stand that also includes contests with Southeast Missouri (Nov. 18) and a Butler team (Nov. 23) playing its first year in the new Big East Conference.
The Cardinals visit Pac-12 opponent Utah on Nov. 27 to begin a stretch in which they will play five out of six games on the road. That portion of the schedule also includes road games against Cleveland State (Nov. 30), a Marquette team (Dec. 17) coming off an Elite Eight appearance, Southern Illinois (Dec. 21) and James Madison (Dec. 30).
Like Ball State, two of those opponents -- Utah and Marquette -- were once coached by Rick Majerus, who passed away last basketball season.
The lone home game in the month of December comes Dec. 4 when the Cardinals welcome Valparaiso. The team will return home a month later to close non-conference play Jan. 3 against Oakland City.“The schedule provides some great challenges,” Whitford said. “It will help us improve as a team and be prepared to compete in the Mid-American Conference come January.”