The top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers return to Bloomington to start a four-game homestand as they entertain the Ball State Cardinals on Sunday evening.
Ball State opened the season on a three-game homestand. The Cardinals began the year by registering a pair of wins over Grambling State (78-51) and Wofford (66-61), before falling to Indiana State last Tuesday, 68-48.
Indiana came into the season as the nation's top-ranked team and so far it hasn't disappointed with a perfect 5-0 record. The highlight of the Hoosiers' early season was an 82-72 overtime win over Georgetown on Nov. 21 to claim the Legends Classic tournament title. It was their 57th regular-season tournament championship in their illustrious history.
Indiana has dominated the all-time series with Ball State, winning 18 of the previous 19 matchups. The last meeting occurred in December of 2006 when Indiana claimed a 71-57 victory.
The Cardinals put forth their worst offensive performance of the season in their last game against Indiana State, shooting just 32 percent from the field, including 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. They didn't help themselves much at the foul line, converting 15-of-27 from the stripe. Jauwan Scaife scored 16 points and Majok Majok finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but the rest of the seven players who saw action in the game combined to score just 17 points. Even in its victories, Ball State hasn't shot the lights out, as it sits with a poor field goal percentage (.403) through three games. Majok, a junior college transfer, is the team's catalyst, recording 14.3 ppg and 10.3 rpg. Jesse Berry (12.0 ppg) and Scaife (11.3 ppg) round out the unit's double- digit scorers, but neither shoots greater than 40 percent from the floor.
The Hoosiers have gotten off to an outstanding start shooting the ball as they have made good on 50.6 percent of their field goal attempts through five games, including 41.4 percent from three-point range. The defense has been top-notch as well, holding opponents to just 36.4 percent from the floor for a mere 57.0 ppg. Although a less-than-stellar effort at the defensive end allowed Georgetown to force overtime the last time out, Indiana made a statement in overtime by outscoring the Hoyas, 18-8. All five starters scored in double figures, with Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls netting 17 points apiece. Kevin Ferrell added 14 points, Victor Oladipo tallied 12, and Christian Watford logged a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. On the season, Zeller (15.2 ppg) and Watford (13.6 ppg) are the team's leading scorers and both grab 7.6 rpg as well, but while Zeller shoots a lofty 62.8 percent from the floor, Watford hasn't nearly been as efficient (.395). Hulls (12.2 ppg) and Oladipo (10.6 ppg) are also consistent performers.