Cards Host Grambling Sunday in Men's Hoops Opener
The game will be the first of three straight at home for the Cardinals to open the season. In total, Ball State will play eight of its first 12 games in Muncie during non-conference play.
• Ball State opens the 2012-13 season Sunday against Grambling State.
• The Cardinals and Tigers will be meeting for just the second time ever and the first time since Ball State's Sweet 16 season in 1989-90.
• Ball State defeated Grambling State that year, 79-56 (Dec. 30, 1989), on a neutral floor at the Old Style Classic in Chicago, Ill.
About the Cardinals
• Ball State features a new look this season with eight newcomers (seven freshmen and one junior college transfer) joining six returning players on the active roster.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry, a preseason All-Mid-American Conference West Division selection, returns as the team's leading scorer after averaging 9.7 points per game in the 2011-12 season.
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife returns to join Berry in a veteran backcourt. Scaife has averaged 9.2 points per game for his career.
• The Cardinals posted a 15-15 record last season and tied for third place in the MAC West Division with a 6-10 mark in league play.
• Ball State held opponents to an average of just 60.7 points per game last year to rank as the second-best scoring defense in the MAC.
Scouting Grambling State
• The Tigers, coming off a 4-24 record in 2011-12, opened their season Friday at Cleveland State with a 92-49 loss. It was the first of 11 straight road games for Grambling State to open the season.
• Freshman guard/forward Terry Rose led the Tigers with 16 points in his collegiate debut. Rose scored nine of his points on free throws for a Grambling team that was held to 26 percent shooting.
• Senior center Peter Roberson is the top returning scorer and rebounder for Grambling State after averaging 7.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last year.
• The Tigers are led by Joseph Price, in his first year as head coach. Price, who played high school basketball in Marion, Ind., was a member of Billy Taylor’s staff at Ball State from 2006-09.
• Price helped Ball State to a share of the 2008-09 MAC West Division title.
Ball State in Season Openers
• Sunday's game will be the 92nd season opener in program history with the Cardinals holding a 53-38 record all-time in openers.
• Ball State has opened a season at home 50 times and posted a 41-9 record in those games.
• The Cardinals last opened at home in 2010-11, recording a 77-46 win over Eastern Illinois.
• Ball State opened last season on the road at No. 16 Arizona when it put a scare into the Wildcats by building an 11-point lead early in the second half before eventually falling, 73-63.
• While Ball State returns only six letterwinners from a season ago, those six players have combined to play in 326 games with 148 starts for the Cardinals.
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife is the most experienced Cardinal, having played in 90 career games. He has started 63 contests through his first three seasons, though he came off the bench for the majority of last season.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry (62 games, 15 starts), junior forwards Chris Bond (58 games, 39 starts), Matt Kamieniecki (47 games, 11 starts) and Tyler Koch (27 games, 22 starts), and senior center Zach Fields (42 games) also have a wealth of experience in the Ball State program.
Berry Preseason All-Conference
• Junior guard Jesse Berry was selected to the Mid-American Conference Preseason All-West Division Team, based on votes by a 24-member MAC News Media Panel.
• Berry is the top returning scorer for Ball State after averaging 9.7 points per game last season. He scored in double figures 17 times, connected on a team-high 50 3-pointers and shot 35.7 percent from long range.
• Berry was joined on the MAC West preseason team by Abdel Nader (Northern Illinois), Rian Pearson (Toledo), Julius Brown (Toledo) and Nate Hutcheson (Western Michigan). Preseason East Division selections were Zeke Marshall (Akron), A'uston Calhoun (Bowling Green), Javon McCrea (Buffalo), Walter Offutt (Ohio) and D.J. Cooper (Ohio).
Cardinals Picked Fourth in West
• The MAC office also announced its preseason poll based on votes by the same panel, and Ball State was picked to finish fourth in the West Division.
• Toledo was picked to win the West, while Ohio was tabbed as the favorite to win the East. The Bobcats, coming off their NCAA Sweet 16 run a season ago, were also selected as the favorite to win the MAC Tournament.
The Non-Conference Schedule
• Ball State will leave the state of Indiana just once during the non-conference schedule -- a Dec. 15 trip to South Dakota.
• The Cardinals will play eight of their 12 non-conference games at home and make three road trips to in-state opponents -- Indiana (Nov. 25), Butler (Dec. 1) and Purdue (Dec. 18).
• Two of Ball State's home games are against Indiana State (Nov. 20) and IUPUI (Dec. 23), giving the Cardinals five games against in-state Division I programs.
• Ball State has never before faced Big 10 opponents Indiana and Purdue in the same season.
Scaife Primed for Senior Season
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife, who has averaged double-figure scoring in two of his first three seasons, owns the most career points among the returning Ball State players with 828.
• Scaife ranks eighth in school history with 133 career 3-pointers.
One of the Best in the West
• Ball State has finished among the top three in the MAC West Division in each of the past four seasons, including first- or second-place finishes in three of those years.
• The Cardinals tied for the division crown in 2008-09 and finished second in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. Last year, Ball State tied for third in the West.
Locking Down on Defense
• Ball State has ranked first or second in the Mid-American Conference for scoring defense in each of the past four seasons.
• Here are the Cardinals rankings by year: 2008-09 (59.7, 1st), 2009-10 (62.4, 1st), 2010-11 (64.0, 1st), 2011-12 (60.7, 2nd).
• Ball State also ranked second in the MAC in field goal percentage defense last year, holding opponents to 40.8 percent shooting from the floor.
• Of the eight newcomers on Ball State's active roster, seven are true freshmen. Here is a breakdown of the freshman class by position ...
• Guard -- Marcus Posley (Rockford, Ill./Auburn HS), Michael Ramey (Indianapolis, Ind./Southport HS), Chase Brogna (Houston, Texas/St. Thomas HS) and George Cater (St. Peters, Mo./Fort Zumwalt South HS).
• Forward -- Bo Calhoun (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) and Rocco Belcaster (Berwyn, Ill./Morton HS).
• Center -- Mading Thok (Boyden, Iowa/Western Christian HS).
Cardinals Add JUCO Post Presence
• Ball State's only non-freshman newcomer is junior post player Majok Majok, a transfer from Midland College in Texas.
• Majok was rated as the No. 18 junior college prospect in the country by JucoJunction.com.
• He was an all-conference selection in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference as a sophomore after averaging 10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Lost from Last Season
• This year's Ball State lineup will be the first in four years not to feature post player Jarrod Jones and point guard Randy Davis.
• Jones finished his career last season ranked sixth on Ball State's all-time scoring list (1,615) and third on the school's all-time rebounding list (975). He started more games (120) than any other player in Ball State history.
• Davis ended his career third on Ball State's career assists chart (446) and eighth in school history for career starts (95). As a senior last year, he ranked second in NCAA Division I in assist/turnover ratio at 3.27.
Home Sweet Home
• Ball State has played 298 games at Worthen Arena (formerly University Arena) since it opened January 15, 1992.
• The Cardinals own an all-time record of 217-81 at the facility for a .728 winning percentage.
• Ball State posted a 10-5 record in home games last season.
• Since their first full season in Worthen Arena, the Cardinals have averaged 10.85 wins per season at home.