Ball State Cardinals Men's Basketball
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Ball State Cardinals Men's Basketball
Ball State Cardinals
Ball State Athletics wordmark.png
UniversityBall State University
Head coachJames Whitford (7th season)
LocationMuncie, Indiana
ArenaWorthen Arena
(Capacity: 11,500)
Student sectionThe Nest
ColorsCardinal and White[1]
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Home jersey
Kit shorts blanksides2.png
Team colours
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Away jersey
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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
Conference Division Season Champions
1998, 2000, 2002, 2009, 2016, 2017, 2020
Ball State-Indiana State rivalry
SportMen's basketball
  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Indiana State Sycamores
First meetingFebruary 11, 1922
Indiana State 47, Ball State 12
Latest meetingNovember 6, 2018
Ball State 86, Indiana State 69
Meetings total131
All-time seriesIndiana State leads, 73-60
Largest victoryIndiana State, 65-19 (1922-23)
Longest win streakIndiana State, 8 (1969-1973)
Ball State, 5 (1953-1955)
Current win streakBall State, 2 (2017-present)
Ball State-Butler rivalry
Sportmen's basketball
  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Butler Bulldogs
First meetingDecember 23, 1924
Butler 27, Ball State 13
Latest meetingNovember 23, 2013
Ball State 53, Butler 67
Meetings total105
All-time seriesButler leads, 67-38
Largest victoryButler, 67-17 (1921-22)
Longest win streakButler, 13 (1958-1964)
Ball State, 7 (1977-1982)
Current win streakButler, 1 (2012-present)

The Ball State Cardinals men's basketball team represents Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The Cardinals first basketball season was 1920-21. 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 sporadic leader 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. In 2017, the Cardinals beat #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion by a score of 80-77, breaking a sixteen year drought against ranked teams.


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


NCAA Division I Tournament

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

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

The Cardinals have appeared in two Postseason Tournaments (CIT). Their combined record is 2-2.

Year Round Opponent Result
2016 First Round
Second Round
Tennessee State
UT Martin
W 78-732OT
W 83-80OT
L 67-69
2017 First Round Fort Wayne L 80-88

NCAA Division II Tournament

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

Year Round Opponent Result
1964 Regional Semifinals
Regional 3rd Place Game
Southern Illinois
Jackson State
L 81-88
L 71-92

NAIA Tournament

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

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

1990 Sweet Sixteen team

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 Runnin' 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 the top-seeded UNLV Runnin' 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]


Retired numbers

The Cardinals have retired two numbers in their history:[12]

No. Player Position Career
10 Ray McCallum PG 1979-1983
42 Bonzi Wells SF 1994-1998

NBA players

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

International players


  1. ^ "Brand Colors - Ball State University". Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "Rivals Ball State, Butler Meet Saturday in Indy". Ball State Athletics. November 30, 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ "All-time series: Evansville" (PDF). Ball State Men's Basketball Record Book. Ball State Sports. p. 30. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ "MBB Hosts Indiana State as Part of Saturday Twinbill". Ball State Sports. December 4, 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "Men's Hoops Opens 2009-10 Season Tonight Against Valpo". Ball State Sports. November 13, 2009. Retrieved 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 2016.
  7. ^ Joe, Juliano (March 18, 1989). "Ball State Coach Leads A Rapid Rise". Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ Rhoden, William (March 15, 1989). "BASKETBALL; Unfamiliar Spotlight for Ball State". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Berkowitz, Steve (March 22, 1990). "COMMENTARY : A Cinderella Story for the Sweet 16: Ball State and Coach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ Engel, Mac (March 15, 2011). "The Greatest Dunk You Forgot: #UNLV vs. #BallState in '90 #NCAA Tournament". Sports Blog Star. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "20 Years Ago Ball State Helped Begin Mid-Major Revolution". March 25, 2010. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "Twenty-Five Years and Still in the Game, Bonzi Celebrates Silver Anniversary". Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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