Indiana vs. Ball State Gameday

Indiana (8-3) wraps up its non-conference slate when it hosts Ball State (4-8) Saturday at 8 p.m. at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are just the latest big name on the Cardinals' schedule, as they've already faced Kansas, Georgetown, Butler and Oklahoma State this season…

Game Particulars: Indiana (8-3) vs. Ball State (4-8)
With the start of the Big Ten season just three days away, Indiana looks to run its winning streak to four when it hosts Ball State Saturday at 8 p.m. at Assembly Hall. This marks the fourth in-state team the Hoosiers have played this season, which includes wins over Indiana State (73-66) and IUPUI (86-57) and a loss to Butler (60-55). Ball State, meanwhile, will also be playing its fourth game against an Indiana team. The Cardinals beat Indiana State 73-70 in overtime and whipped Valparaiso 61-40, but dropped a 65-41 decision to Butler.

IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and owns an 8-3 record in Bloomington and a 463-260 career mark in 23-plus seasons. Ball State, meanwhile, is coached by Ronny Thompson, who in his first year at the helm of the Cardinal program and his first season as a head coach overall. The son of former Georgetown head coach John Thompson, Ronny came to Ball State after spending three years as an assistant coach on Stan Heath's Arkansas staff.

The game will be televised by ESPN-Plus, with Jim Barbar (play-by-play) and John Laskowski (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2006-07 Schedule

Ball State 2006-07 Schedule

Indiana (8-3/0-0 Big Ten)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 173, Sr.) – 10.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 54.1% FG shooting
SG-A.J. Ratliff (6-3, 188, Jr.) – 9.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.2 spg, 31.3% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Rod Wilmont (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 10.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 spg, 37.9% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Lance Stemler (6-8, 210, Jr.) – 9.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 40.4% 3 pt. shooting
PF – D.J. White (6-9, 251, Jr.) – 13.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 50.4% FG shooting

Ball State (4-8/0-0 Mid-America)
PG- Steve Horton (5-9, 150, Jr.) – 5.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 25% 3 pt. shooting
SG –Peyton Stovall (6-1, 190, Jr.) – 7.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 39.0% 3 pt. shooting
WG- Chris Ames (6-3, 200, Sr.) – 3.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.2 spg
SF – Skip Mills (6-3, 205, Sr.) – 13.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.6 spg
C – Micah Rollin(6-10, 260, Jr.) – 8.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 bpg

Indiana 2006-07 Statistics

Ball State 2006-07 Statistics

Will IU Match the Intensity it Showed Against IUPUI? – For a second straight game, there's a strong temptation to look past a seemingly sub-par foe. A week ago it was a contest three days before Christmas against a struggling IUPUI team that was minus its best player. Tonight, it's a home contest against a 4-8 Ball State team in a match-up that comes just three days before the Big Ten opener at pre-season favorite Ohio State. The Hoosiers give in to temptation last week, racing to 10-0 and 16-2 leads and were never threatened by the Jaguars. In the process, Lance Stemler broke out of his shooting slump and Earl Calloway attacked the rim with abandon, giving himself a confidence boost as well. Can the Hoosiers put together that sort of performance again?

How often will Indiana use four guards against Ball State? - A four-guard lineup of A.J. Ratliff, Armon Bassett, Rod Wilmont and Earl Calloway worked wonders in the second half against Southern Illinois, producing a much-needed win against the Salukis a couple weeks ago. Coach Kelvin Sampson may wind up using that grouping again against the Cardinals. With the exception of 6-10, 260-pound center Micah Rollin, Ball State started four players 6-3 or under, all of whom are perimeter-oriented players. If Indiana goes with two big men, that leaves Lance Stemler or D.J. White or Xavier Keeling defending on the perimeter. Expect to see Stemler start and matched up with Chris Ames, who is the least offensive-minded of the Ball State guards. That leaves Wilmont and Ratliff to slow down Skip Mills and Peyton Stovall. But if Ames goes on the offensive, don't be surprised to see IU go small as well.

What will A.J. Ratliff's role be tonight? Ratliff said Thursday he missed a practice without letting the team know he couldn't be there, and the story ballooned from there into rumors about him transferring. Ratliff squelched those rumors Thursday, but said there's still some unspecified disciplinary matters to be sorted out for his absence. Will that include playing time? Ratliff has started the last two games and has averaged 30.7 minutes/game in his last three outings, so if he isn't starting or seeing significant minutes, that's likely the reason why.

What kind of fight will Ball State have? - Usually, one would anticipate an in-state school such as Ball State being wound up for a chance to play Indiana. But this is just the latest match-up in a rigorous non-conference that has resulted in eight Cardinal losses and a team lacking in confidence. Ball State has suffered setbacks to big names such as Oklahoma State, Kansas, Georgetown and Temple, and they were also whipped by a very good Butler team as well. They've lost those five games by an average of 16.4 points, and a similar result could unfold at Assembly Hall. As was the case against IUPUI, the start of this game will be critical – Indiana doesn't want to give Ball State any reasons for optimism.

Ball State has been woeful shooting the ball this season. The Cardinals are shooting just 38.3 percent from the floor and 26.2 percent from 3-point range, percentages that rank last in the Mid-America Conference by a wide margin…as much as Ball State has struggled early on, it should still be a contender in the MAC's Western Division this season. Every team in the division has a losing record and at least seven losses (compared to the MAC Eastern Division, where five of the six teams have winning records). If Ball State were to beat Indiana, it would actually move into first place in the West, based on overall winning percentage, with a 5-8 record…Indiana had three players score at least 20 points in its win against IUPUI (Stemler 21, Calloway 21, Bassett 20), something an IU team last accomplished against Kelvin Sampson's Oklahoma team in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tourney. In that 94-87 overtime IU win, Andrae Patterson finished with 26, A.J. Guyton with 23, and Luke Recker with 21…D.J. White leads Indiana with seven double-digit scoring efforts in 11 games, followed by Lance Stemler (6), Rod Wilmont (6), A.J. Ratliff (5), Earl Calloway (5), Armon Bassett (5), Joey Shaw (2) and Mike White (1). No player, though, has reached double figures in four straight games – something Bassett has a chance to do against Ball State. Top Stories