The Ball State men’s basketball team returns to action for the first time in 13 days with a Tuesday night contest at Marquette. The Golden Eagles, which advanced to the Elite Eight of last year’s NCAA Tournament, are the second Big East opponent of the season for the Cardinals.
Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET) in Milwaukee, Wis., in a game that will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
Ball State (2-5) hasn’t played since a Dec. 4 loss to Valparaiso, while Marquette (6-4) is coming off a Saturday victory over IUPUI. The teams, both of which were formerly coached by the late Rick Majerus, will be meeting for the first time.
Ball State at Marquette
Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET) -- BMO Harris Bradley Center (Milwaukee, Wis.)
• Television: Fox Sports 1; Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Bob Wenzel (analyst)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play)
• Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats available at gomarquette.com.
What You Need to Know
• Tuesday’s game at Marquette begins a three-game road stretch for Ball State that will continue with games at Southern Illinois (Dec. 21) and James Madison (Dec. 30).
• The Cardinals are 2-5 on the season, coming off four straight losses, and preparing for their second Big East opponent of the year.
• Ball State will be playing for the first time since a 69-50 loss to Valparaiso Dec. 4, a stretch of 13 days.
• The Cardinals’ strength of schedule is rated as high as No. 25 in the country (ESPN.com), and their losses have come against teams with a combined record of 35-15.
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals with averages of 13.4 points and 3.9 assists per game.
• Seniors Jesse Berry (13.0 ppg) and Chris Bond (10.9 ppg) are also averaging double figures.
• Berry surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career Nov. 30 at Cleveland State to become the 27th member of Ball State’s 1,000-point club.
• Senior center Majok Majok ranks second in the Mid-American Conference and 19th nationally with 11.0 rebounds per game.
• Majok, who is averaging 9.1 points per game, has three double-doubles on the season.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
• The Cardinals are in the midst of a stretch in which they play five out of six games on the road. Wednesday’s game against Valparaiso is the team’s only home contest in the month of December.
• Marquette is 6-4 on the year after an 86-50 win Saturday over IUPUI.
• The Golden Eagles, which were ranked early in the season, have lost twice to top-10 teams (Ohio State and Wisconsin). Their other losses are to Arizona State and San Diego State.
• A pair of Marquette players are averaging double-figures: Davante Gardner (14.8 ppg) and Jamil Wilson (12.2 ppg). Gardner also leads the team on the glass with 7.0 rebounds per game.
• The Golden Eagles have held their opponents to 37.7 percent shooting for the year and own a +8.4 average rebounding advantage.
• The Marquette program has played in eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments and has reached the Sweet 16 in three straight seasons. The Golden Eagles advanced to the Elite Eight a year ago.
The Series with Marquette
• Ball State and Marquette will be meeting for the first time.
• Ball State and Marquette are connected by a common head coach in the late Rick Majerus, who passed away Dec. 1, 2012.
• Majerus led the Cardinals for two seasons (1987-89), going 43-17.
• In his second season, he guided the program to a 29-3 record (the best in school history), a MAC Championship and the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory.
• A Marquette alum, Majerus was a long-time assistant coach at his alma mater and served as the program’s head coach from 1983-86, posting a 56-35 record in his three seasons.
• Ball State already played another of Majerus’ teams earlier this season, visiting the Utah Utes in November.
All-Time Versus the Big East
• Tuesday’s game at Marquette is the second of the season for Ball State against an opponent from the Big East Conference.
• The Cardinals dropped a 59-58 decision to first-year Big East member Butler Nov. 23 in Muncie.
• Ball State is 2-6 all-time against Big East opponents at the time they were in the league.
• The wins came against Pittsburgh, 68-64, in the first round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament and at DePaul, 79-77, in the 2010-11 season.
• The Cardinals are 42-77 all-time against current Big East members with the majority of those games coming against in-state rival Butler.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule is ranked among the top 50 in the country by a variety of outlets: ESPN.com (25), Jeff Sagarin (32), Warren Nolan (42), CBSSports.com (47) and Ken Pomeroy (49).
• The Cardinals’ five losses this season have come against teams with a combined record of 35-15: Utah (9-1), Butler (8-2), Indiana State (7-2), Valparaiso (7-5) and Cleveland State (4-5).
• Butler’s only losses came by two points to No. 5 Oklahoma State and in overtime to LSU. Indiana State’s lone defeats both came by a single point against Belmont and Tulsa.
Majok One of the Nation’s Best
• Senior center Majok Majok ranks second in the MAC and 19th nationally in rebounding (10.1 rpg).
• He had a string of five straight double-digit rebounding games snapped against Valparaiso.
• One of those games was a 16-rebound effort against Taylor that was one shy of his career high.
• Majok led the MAC last year and ranked 18th nationally at 9.8 rebounds per game.
Majok Majok’s Double-Doubles
• Majok Majok owns three double-doubles on the season and 12 over his two seasons at Ball State.
• He is nearly averaging a double-double through seven games at 9.1 points and 10.1 rebounds.
• Majok ranked third in the MAC with nine double-doubles last year in his first season at Ball State and nearly averaged a double-double for the season at 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
• The last Cardinal to average a double-double in a season was Theron Smith, who tallied 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in 2001-02.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 13.4 points and 3.9 assists per game.
• He has scored at least 15 points in four of Ball State’s seven games.
• Turner became the first Cardinal with at least 17 points and at least four assists in the first three games of a season since Larry Bullington in 1973-74 and just the second to accomplish the feat since Ball State began tracking assists in 1973.
• He became the first Ball State freshman with at least 17 points in the first three games of a season since Jim Fields in 1975-76 and just the second since freshmen became eligible for varsity competition in 1972.
Turner’s Shooting Numbers
• Zavier Turner leads the Mid-American Conference in free throw percentage (.960) and ranks seventh in the league in 3-point percentage (.485).
• He has made all but one of his 25 free throw attempts and sunk 16 of 33 from beyond the arc.
• Turner leads the MAC in made 3-pointers per game with an average of 2.3.
• He has hit at least three 3-pointers in four of the Cardinals’ seven games and was held without a trey for the first time in the last game against Valparaiso.
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also ranks among the top 15 in the MAC in assists per game (3.9, 5th), minutes per game (31.7, 5th) and points per game (13.4, 15th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories except 3-point percentage, where he ranks second to Western Michigan rookie Kellen McCormick.
Berry Reaches 1,000
• Senior guard Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career in the Nov. 30 game at Cleveland State.
• Berry’s final basket of the night, a second-half 3-pointer, gave him 10 points for the game and 1,001 for his career.
• He added 10 more points in the Valparaiso game and now has 1,011 as a Cardinal.
• Berry is the 27th member of Ball State’s 1,000-point club. Former teammate Jauwan Scaife, now a graduate student manager for the Cardinals, became the 26th member last season.
Berry from Downtown
• Jesse Berry has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 173 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 495 3-point attempts.
• Former Ball State teammate Jauwan Scaife set the school record for 3-pointers last year, finishing his career with 203 treys.
• Berry shot a career-best 37.5 percent from beyond the arc last season and raised his percentage to 41.2 during MAC play.
Youth and Experience
• Ball State’s lineup this season is heavy on both experience and youth.
• There are only two scholarship players on the Cardinals’ roster outside the freshman and senior classes, so those two classes account for the majority of the minutes on the floor.
• Ball State’s freshmen have stepped in to make an immediate impact, accounting for more than 40 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.
• Freshman Zavier Turner leads the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game, while freshmen also rank first and second on the team in assists -- Turner 27 and Quinten Payne 13. Freshman Franko House is second on the team with 5.1 rebounds per game.
Rebounding Telling the Story
• Ball State has held a double-digit rebounding advantage in both of its wins this season, but the Cardinals have been out-rebounded in each of their five losses.
• The team has held an average rebounding margin of +19.5 in its wins over Taylor (53-25) and Southeast Missouri (46-35).
• In the five losses, Ball State has been out-rebounded by an average margin of 4.2, though never by more than seven in a single game.
Whitford Era Underway
• James Whitford, who was introduced April 10, 2013 as the 19th head coach in program history, earned his first career win in the Cardinals’ 73-53 victory Nov. 12 over Taylor.
• Whitford came to Ball State after serving the previous eight years on the staff of Sean Miller at Xavier and Arizona, including the past two 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
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki will sit out the season after undergoing wrist surgery. He 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, four of which are seniors -- center Majok Majok, guard Jesse Berry and forwards Chris Bond and Tyler Koch.
• Majok led the MAC and ranked 18th 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.
Relying on Young Talent
• Ball State brought in a class of four scholarship freshmen, all of whom are averaging at least 16 minutes per game.
• Freshman Zavier Turner, an all-state point guard from Pike High School in Indianapolis, is being asked to shoulder much of the ball handling load for the Cardinals.
• The class of scholarship newcomers also includes guards 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.
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. He 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.