Ball State Cardinals men's basketball

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Ball State Cardinals
2016–17 Ball State Cardinals men's basketball team
Ball State Athletics wordmark.png
University Ball State University
Conference MAC
West Division
Location Muncie, IN
Head coach James Whitford (4th year)
Arena Worthen Arena
(Capacity: 11,500)
Nickname Cardinals
Student section The Nest
Colors Cardinal and White[1]
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
Kit shorts whitesides.png
Team colours
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
NCAA Tournament Round of 32
1989, 1990
NCAA Tournament appearances
1981, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2000
Conference tournament champions
1981, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2000
Conference regular season champions
1981, 1982, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1998, 2000
Ball State–Indiana State rivalry
Sport Men's basketball
  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Indiana State Sycamores
First meeting March 1, 1919
Indiana State 53, Ball State 21
Latest meeting December 6, 2014
Ball State 70, Indiana State 63
Next meeting December 6, 2014
Meetings total 128
All-time series Indiana State leads, 71–58
Largest victory Indiana State, 65–19 (1922-23)
Longest win streak Indiana State, 8 (1969–1973)
Ball State, 5 (1953–1955)
Current win streak Indiana State, 2 (2012–present)
Ball State–Butler rivalry
Sport men's basketball
  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Butler Bulldogs
First meeting December 23, 1924
Butler 27, Ball State 13
Latest meeting November 23, 2013
Ball State 53, Butler 67
Meetings total 105
All-time series Butler leads, 67–38
Largest victory Butler, 67–17 (1921-22)
Longest win streak Butler, 13 (1958–1964)
Ball State, 7 (1977–1982)
Current win streak Butler, 1 (2012–present)

The Ball State Cardinals men's basketball team is the basketball team that represent Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The Cardinals first basketball season was 1920-1921. The school's team currently competes in the Mid-American Conference. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2000.

The Cardinals have had various levels of success throughout their 94 seasons of competition. Although there was little success in the program from its start until the 1970s, the next two decades would be the highlight of the program's performance. Ball State became a powerhouse in the Mid-American Conference, winning a record seven MAC tournaments between 1981 and 2000. The Cardinals also accomplished a large feat during the 2001 Maui Invitational Tournament, when they upset #4 Kansas and #3 UCLA on consecutive days.


Ball State's rivals in men's basketball are against other in-state, out-of-conference programs Butler (since 1924),[2] Evansville (since 1929),[3] Indiana State (since 1922),[4] and Valparaiso (since 1927).[5] Prior to moving to the Division I Mid-American Conference in the 1971–72 season, Ball State shared conferences with its rivals, in the Indiana Intercollegiate Conference and later Indiana Collegiate Conference, both Division II.

All-Time Results by season[edit]

Postseason results[edit]

NCAA Division I Tournament[edit]

The Cardinals have appeared in seven NCAA Division I Tournaments. All of their tournament appearances have been automatic bids given to the Cardinals as a result of winning the MAC Tournament. Their overall NCAA Tournament record is 3–7. Ball State's most successful year was 1990, when they reached the Sweet Sixteen but lost to eventual national champion UNLV, 69–67. It was UNLV's only single-digit win of their Tournament run - they won their five other games by an average margin of 23 points, including a 30-point win over Duke in the National Championship Game.

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1981 #12 Round of 48 #5 Boston College L 90–93
1986 #14 Round of 64 #3 Memphis State L 63–95
1989 #9 Round of 64
Round of 32
#8 Pittsburgh
#1 Illinois
W 68–64
L 60–72
1990 #12 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
#5 Oregon State
#4 Louisville
W 54–53
W 62–60
L 67–69
1993 #15 Round of 64 #2 Kansas L 72–94
1995 #12 Round of 64 #5 Arizona State L 66–81
2000 #11 Round of 64 #6 UCLA L 57–65

National Invitation Tournament[edit]

The Cardinals have appeared in four National Invitation Tournament tournaments. Their overall NIT record is 3–4. Their most successful year in the NIT was 2002, when the Cardinals gained all three of their NIT victories but lost to eventual national runner-up South Carolina.

Year Round Opponent Result
1991 First Round Cincinnati L 55–83
1992 First Round Utah L 57–72
1998 First Round Memphis L 67–90
2002 Opening Round
First Round
Second Round
South Florida
Saint Joseph's
South Carolina
W 98–92
W 75–65
W 75-65
L 47–82 Tournament[edit]

The Cardinals have appeared in one Postseason Tournament (CIT). Their record is 2–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2016 First Round
Second Round
Tennessee State
UT Martin
W 78–732OT
W 83–80OT
L 67–69

NCAA Division II Tournament[edit]

The Cardinals have appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament one time. Their record is 0–2.

Year Round Opponent Result
1958 Regional Semifinals
Regional 3rd Place Game
Southern Illinois
Jackson State
L 81–88
L 71–92

NAIA Tournament[edit]

The Cardinals have appeared in the NAIA Tournament one time. Their record is 1–1.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1957 First Round
Second Round
Troy State
Texas Southern
W 98–70
L 72–97

1990 Sweet Sixteen team[edit]

After the departure of head coach Rick Majerus, Ball State responded under new coach Dick Hunsaker by having the best season in the school's history. This group of Cardinals became the first team in the Mid-American Conference history to win two consecutive MAC regular season conference championships as well as back-to-back conference tournament titles. The 1990 Ball State basketball team also became the first team in the MAC to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in its current format. The Cardinals lost in the Sweet 16 to the eventual national champions UNLV Running Rebels, 69–67.[6]

The team was led by many transfer players and two of Coach Hunsaker’s key transfers, starting forwards Paris McCurdy and Curtis Kidd, were high school teammates.[7] They both signed to play their college ball at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. However, because of disciplinary reasons, the two had to find a new school. Former coach Rick Majerus gave them a second chance, and they came through. The two became the key assets to Ball States Sweet 16 run.[8]

The Cardinals finished the regular season at 26-7 before heading to the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals were a 12 seed and began the tournament at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. They upset the Oregon State Beavers in what was star point guard Gary Payton’s last game in college.[9] Ball State then had to play the Louisville Cardinals next. They ended up defeating Louisville late in the game by a final score of 62–60. Meanwhile in Muncie, fans stormed the village (the center of Ball State's off campus social scene) after the win. Ball State advanced to face one the top-seeded UNLV Running Rebels. Ball State shut down one of the best offenses in college basketball history and had a chance to win it in the final seconds.[10] Down by two, the Cards made a deep pass to tie or take the lead but it was picked off.[11]

Notable people[edit]

Three Cardinals players have gone on to play professionally in the National Basketball Association (NBA).


  1. ^ "Colors - Branding Toolbox - Ball State University". Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  2. ^ "Rivals Ball State, Butler Meet Saturday in Indy". Ball State Athletics. November 30, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ "All-time series: Evansville" (PDF). Ball State Men's Basketball Record Book. Ball State Sports. p. 30. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  4. ^ "MBB Hosts Indiana State as Part of Saturday Twinbill". Ball State Sports. December 4, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Men's Hoops Opens 2009-10 Season Tonight Against Valpo". Ball State Sports. November 13, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  6. ^ Matthew, Tyson (August 15, 2006). "How Sweet It Was: The Story of Ball States 1990 Sweet 16 Season" (PDF). Ball State Library. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  7. ^ Joe, Juliano (March 18, 1989). "Ball State Coach Leads A Rapid Rise". Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  8. ^ Rhoden, William (March 15, 1989). "BASKETBALL; Unfamiliar Spotlight for Ball State". New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  9. ^ Berkowitz, Steve (March 22, 1990). "COMMENTARY : A Cinderella Story for the Sweet 16: Ball State and Coach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  10. ^ Engel, Mac (March 15, 2011). "The Greatest Dunk You Forgot: #UNLV vs. #BallState in '90 #NCAA Tournament". Sports Blog Star. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  11. ^ "20 Years Ago Ball State Helped Begin Mid-Major Revolution". March 25, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 

External links[edit]