MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men’s basketball team will usher in a new era Saturday by playing its oldest rival.
First-year head coach James Whitford leads the Cardinals to Terre Haute, Ind., for a challenging opening game against an Indiana State team picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Tipoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. from the Hulman Center as the Cardinals and Sycamores meet for the 128th time. There is no opponent Ball State has played more often in its history.
Ball State at Indiana State
Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1:05 p.m. -- Hulman Center (Terre Haute, Ind.)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play) & David Eha (analyst)
• Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Luke Martin (play-by-play), Sean Stewart (analyst) & Petar Hood (sidelines)
• Television: WTWO-TV (only in Terre Haute market)
• Internet: Live audio at ballstatesports.com; Streaming video and live stats at gosycamores.com.
Ball State All-Access users will be able to access the live video through their All-Access package on ballstatesports.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State opens the 2013-14 campaign at Indiana State in the Cardinals’ first regular-season game under first-year head coach James Whitford.
• The Cardinals are 54-38 all-time in season openers. Ball State has never before met Indiana State in the first game of a season.
• Ball State has played Indiana State more than any other opponent in school history with a total of 127 meetings dating back to the 1921-22 season. The Sycamores hold a 70-57 lead in the all-time series.
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki underwent wrist surgery Thursday and will sit out the season. Kamieniecki will redshirt this year and return as a fifth-year senior next season.
• Senior big man Majok Majok, a third-team All-Mid-American Conference pick last year, was one of five players selected to the preseason All-MAC West Division Team.
• The Cardinals saw their first action of the season Monday with a 62-59 exhibition victory over NAIA program Marian. Freshman point guard Zavier Turner led Ball State with 18 points, while Majok Majok and freshman forward Franko House scored 12 each.
• Indiana State will be honoring Sycamore legend Larry Bird this weekend. A statue of Bird will be unveiled before the game, and the Sycamores’ 1978-79 national runner-up team will be recognized at halftime.
Scouting Indiana State
• Indiana State, coming off an 18-15 season in 2012-13, was picked second in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll.
• The Sycamores made their fourth straight postseason appearance last season with a berth in the NIT, where they lost to Iowa in the first round.
• Senior guard Jake Odum is a preseason All-MVC selection and Bob Cousy Award candidate, coming off a season in which he averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 assists per game.
• The Sycamores also return their second-leading scorer and another preseason All-MVC selection in senior guard Manny Arop, who averaged 12.0 points per game last year.
• Indiana State returns nine total letterwinners, including four starters, from a year ago.
• The Sycamores posted a 73-37 win over Rose-Hulman in exhibition action Sunday.
The Series with Indiana State
• With 127 all-time meetings between the teams, Ball State has faced Indiana State more than any opponent in school history.
• The Cardinals and Sycamores played for the first time during the 1921-22 season. With the exception of the 2008-09 campaign, the teams have met at least once every year since 1947-48.
• Indiana State owns a 70-57 lead in the all-time series and a 48-17 advantage in games played in Terre Haute.
• The teams have split the past 10 meetings evenly over the last decade, though Indiana State has won each of the past two years.
• The Sycamores claimed a 68-48 victory in last year’s meeting in Muncie.
• Ball State will begin its 93rd season of competition Saturday.
• The Cardinals are 54-38 in their previous 92 season-opening contests.
• Ball State opened last season with a 78-51 home victory over Grambling State.
• The Cardinals are 4-1 in their past five season-opening games.
Opening on the Road
• Ball State will be playing its season opener away from home for just the second time since the 2004-05 campaign.
• The last time the Cardinals played their first game on the road was two years ago when they opened the 2011-12 season at nationally ranked Arizona.
• The associate head coach of that Arizona team was James Whitford, who is now in his first season as the Ball State head coach.
• The Cardinals led by 11 points early in the second half of that game before the Wildcats rallied for a 73-63 victory.
Whitford Era Begins
• Ball State will be playing its first regular-season game under coach James Whitford, who was introduced April 10, 2013 as the 19th head coach in program history.
• Whitford came to Ball State after serving the previous eight years on the staff of Sean Miller at Xavier and Arizona, including the previous two years as the Wildcats’ associate head coach.
• He also has previous MAC experience with 11 years on the staff at Miami University under head coaches Herb Sendek and Charlie Coles.
• During his career as an assistant coach, Whitford’s teams posted an overall record of 400-208 and reached the postseason 13 times, including 10 NCAA tournament appearances.
Kamieniecki to Miss Season, Redshirt
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki will sit out the season after undergoing wrist surgery.
• Kamieniecki will redshirt this season and return to the floor as a fifth-year senior in 2014-15.
• Kamieniecki has played in 74 games through his first three seasons at Ball State. He averaged 4.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a junior, starting 11 of the final 16 games after being limited by injury in the first half of the season.
• At this point, Kamieniecki will be the only senior on next year’s Ball State roster.
Returning for the Cardinals
• The loss of Matt Kamieniecki leaves Ball State with six returning letterwinners from last year’s team, four of which are seniors -- center Majok Majok, guard Jesse Berry and forwards Chris Bond and Tyler Koch.
• Majok, a former junior college transfer, led the MAC and ranked among the top 20 nationally in rebounding last year. He averaged nearly a double-double at 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
• Berry is the team’s top returning scorer. He ranked second on last year’s team at 12.8 points per game, trailing only departed senior Jauwan Scaife’s 16.6 points per game.
• Ball State’s two additional returning letterwinners are both sophomores in forward Bo Calhoun and guard Chase Brogna.
Majok Tabbed Preseason All-MAC
• Majok Majok was named to the preseason All-MAC West Division Team in a vote of media from around the league.
• Majok was joined in the West Division by Toledo’s Rian Pearson and Julius Brown, Western Michigan’s Shayne Whittington and Eastern Michigan’s Glenn Bryant.
• The preseason All-MAC East Team consisted of Buffalo’s Javon McCrea and Will Regan, Akron’s Demetrius Treadwell and Quincy Diggs, and Miami’s Will Felder.
Cardinals Add Young Talent
• Ball State has welcomed the addition of four scholarship freshmen for 2013-14, all of whom will compete for playing time.
• Zavier Turner, an all-state point guard from Pike High School in Indianapolis, will be asked to shoulder much of the ball handling load for the Cardinals in his rookie season.
• The class of newcomers also includes wing players Mark Alstork from Thurgood Marshall High School in Dayton and Quinten Payne from North High School in St. Charles, Ill., along with post player Franko House from Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind.
• Additionally, local product Kaleb Mallory from Muncie Central High School was invited to join the team as a walk-on.
Berry from Downtown
• Jesse Berry returns as Ball State’s top outside shooting threat.
• Berry shot a career-best 37.5 percent from beyond the arc last season and raised his percentage to 41.2 during MAC play.
• He enters his senior season fifth all-time at Ball State with 158 career 3-pointers and needs just six more treys to move into third place on the list.
• Former teammate Jauwan Scaife set the school record last year, finishing his career with 203 treys.
Bond Stealing the Show
• Chris Bond enters his senior season tied for 14th on Ball State’s career steals list with 118.
• Bond led the MAC last year with 2.1 steals per game, logging a career-high 62 steals for the season.
• He is 49 steals shy of moving into the top five in Ball State history.
• One of Ball State’s biggest challenges this season will be to replace the scoring punch of Jauwan Scaife, who completed his career last year 14th on Ball State’s all-time scoring list.
• An All-MAC Second Team selection, Scaife ranked second in the league during MAC play last year with 19.9 points per game.
• In conference play, Scaife also ranked among the top five in the league in free throws made (1st, 98), 3-pointers made (2nd, 44) and minutes per game (5th, 35.2).
• He scored 24 points per game over the final eight regular-season contests, leading Ball State to a 7-1 record down the stretch.
• Scaife is now a graduate student manager for the Cardinals.
• Also gone from last year’s team are center Zach Fields, who graduated after starting 21 games, and guard Marcus Posley, who transferred after averaging 6.5 points and 2.9 assists per game.
Picked Fourth in MAC West
• Ball State was picked to finish fourth in the MAC West Division in the preseason poll of the league’s media members.
• Toledo was picked as the West Division favorite, followed by Western Michigan in second and Eastern Michigan in third. Central Michigan and Northern Illinois were picked to finish fifth and sixth, respectively.
• Akron was voted as the favorite to win both the MAC East Division and the MAC Tournament.