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February 9, 2013

Game Preview & Predictions: Ball State







Game Information

Western Michigan Broncos (15-7, 7-2) at Ball State Cardinals (8-13, 2-7)
Location: Muncie, IN
Venue: John E. Worthen Arena
Capacity: 11,500
Saturday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m.
All-time series record: WMU leads 58-57

Broadcast Information
Radio: Bronco Radio Network
Announcer: Sean Fagan
Stations: WKZO - 96.5 FM: (Flagship) Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan; WMAX - 96.1 FM: Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon; WVIC - 94.1 FM: Lansing, Jackson, Battle Creek
Pre-game: Begins at 5:30 p.m.
Television: SportsTime Ohio
Talent: Michael Reghi & Steve Mix

Billy Taylor's record at Ball State: 77-95 (6th season)
Steve Hawkins' record at Western Michigan: 174-139 (10th season)


Additional Information

- The Cardinals lead the series 36-20 in games played in Muncie. The Broncos have lost the last four meetings at Worthen Arena; the last win was on Jan. 16, 2008.

- The Broncos received 17 votes in the Feb. 4 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.

- Western Michigan's bench is outscoring opponents by an average of 13.1 points per game during the 7-game winning streak.

- The Broncos have either entered halftime tied or trailing in the last three games, but came back to win them all.

- Western Michigan is 7-2 this season in games decided by two possessions or fewer.

- The Broncos have a 7-6 record away from University Arena, giving them the most wins away from home in the MAC. Akron is the only other MAC team with a winning record away from home (6-4).

- David Brown's 48.6 three-point shooting percentage would lead the MAC if he qualified (due to games played).

- Shayne Whittington has scored 20 or more points in five games this season, after having zero such games in previous years.

- David Brown recorded his first career 20-point game against Kent State, dropping 22 off the bench.

- Brown is averaging 10.8 points per game since returning to the line-up in the game at Akron.

- Nate Hutcheson needs just 15 points to reach 1,000 points for his career.

- Shayne Whittington's seven double-doubles is the most for a Bronco since Joe Reitz had 10 double-doubles in 2006-07.

- Whittington is one of only three players in the MAC with seven or more double-doubles this season. He has recorded double-doubles in consecutive games for the third time this season.


Staff Predictions

Brian Persky: Majok Majok versus Shayne Whittington is the match-up I'll be watching tonight. With Whittington emerging as one of the elite big men in the Mid-American Conference, it will be important for him to assert his will on the interior throughout this game and set the tone. I expect Ball State to go at Whittington and attempt to get him in foul trouble early.

I believe that Ball State's record is better than it shows and with the Broncos' recent struggles at Worthern Arena, I think this game will be a dog fight to the end. Without trying to sound like a broken record, I think it's WMU's defense that makes the difference in this game.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 73, Ball State 68


David James: I keep feeling like WMU is due to drop one on the road, but I don't think this is the one. Ball State has been a disappointment to put it mildly, and in fact is yet to win a Mid-American Conference game at home this year (0-4). WMU comes in hot, and this one probably won't be close.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 71, Ball State 55


Brandon Fitzsimons: Ball State has been playing better lately, but I still like the Broncos to win on the road. They have been too dynamic to drop a game. Still, should they lose, they could drop into a tie with Toledo for the MAC West lead.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 77, Kent State 69


D.J. Duckett: The Broncos have been too hot to handle as of late. Seven MAC wins in a row, they are really finding their stride at the right time. David Brown is making a strong case for MAC sixth man of the year, as his hot hand off the bench has ignited the WMU offense. I think this will be a good game, but ultimately the Broncos will pull away from the Cardinals. Expect Shayne Whittington to have another big performance, he is leading this team and has cemented himself as the one to watch.

Score Prediction: Western Michigan 72, Ball State 65


Additional Links

Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive: In the paint: Western Michigan basketball trying to maintain focus in tonight's game at Ball State

Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive: Brandon Pokley, surging Western Michigan basketball team eager to hit road for Ball State

WMU Athletics: Broncos to Face Ball State in Televised Clash

WMU Athletics: Official Game Notes

Ball State Athletics: Men's Hoops Faces Western Michigan Saturday at 6 pm


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