Mid American meets Horizon Wednesday as the UIC Flames host the Ball State Cardinals. Both teams enter tonight’s contest on the wrong side of their prior outings. Bound by moderate expectations after receiving transfer portal aid, Ball State dropped a Nov. 9 road opener 79-75 vs. giant-killer Evansville. The Purple Aces downed #1 UK 67-64 Tuesday. Meanwhile, last week UIC became the latest blowout victim in Memphis’ re-awakening tour.
Last year, under veteran coach James Whitford, Ball State finished 16-17 (6-12 in conference play). The Cardinals’ Mid-American drop-off came one season after posting a 10-8 conference mark. UIC won and lost 16 contests last season for Steve McClain, including a 10-8 Horizon League finish.
Ball State is ranked #136 by Kenpom.com; Illinois-Chicago is ranked #151 by Pomeroy.
The Cardinals open tonight’s contest as -3.5 favorites. No information has emerged regarding the availability of Tarkus Ferguson, Marcus Ottey, or Jordan Blount for UIC.
Ball State off to slow startEven with six of the team’s top eight scorers back, Ball State failed to launch during its recent 79-75 setback vs. Evansville. The Flames’ defense became disjointed, especially in transition. During the Cardinals’ two-way struggles, Evansville built a 25-point lead at one point and the contest never seemed in question -contrary to the final score.
Tahjai Teague, sporting distinct basketball bloodlines, finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Teammates Kyle Mallers (11) & Jarron Coleman (10) finished with double-figure scoring. Though, it was DeAndre Williams’ 25-point outburst that settled matters for the host Purple Aces. During a game decided by a handful of points, Ball State’s six of 15 free throw performance proved irredeemable. Better execution will be required tonight if UIC is to acquit its last outing.
Back on the road tomorrow.— Ball State Basketball (@BallStateMBB) November 12, 2019
Heading to Chicago to face a UIC team picked third in the Horizon League preseason poll.
This season Ball State averages 81 ppg (#100 NCAA) & allows (61.0 ppg, #81 pa).
Where are UIC’s top players?UIC’s lead foursome, Tarkus Ferguson, Marcus Ottey, Godwin Boahen and Jordan Blount never had a chance vs. Memphis’ elite youngsters. Of those Cardinals impact players, only Boahen (10 pts) appeared, as McClain hasn’t played Ferguson, Ottey or Blount this year. No reason has been given for the trio’s absence as of 9:30 P.M. EST Tuesday. Opposite eight UIC Flames, Memphis raced to a 92-46 win. Super frosh James Wiseman added 17 points as frontcourt mate Precious Achiuwa tallied 10 points and Boogie Ellis led all scorers with 21. The availability of Ferguson, Ottey and Blount remains in question for tonight’s contest. It will be interesting to see what lineup UIC offers Wednesday, as only eight players have appeared in the team’s first two games. During this odd situation, Boahen’s 15.5 ppg have led the Cardinals to a 1-1 record.
The UIC fans’ Twitter response to the lack of information regarding Ferguson, Ottey and Blount’s on-court presence sums things up.
This season, UIC averages 60.5 ppg (#317 NCAA) and allows 80.2, #319.
Trends courtesy of covers.com
- Cardinals are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. Horizon League.
- Cardinals are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 Wednesday games.
- Cardinals are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
- Cardinals are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Flames are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Flames are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Mid-American.
- Flames are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.