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Ball State Cardinals vs. Bowling Green Falcons Preview and Predictions 03-14-2019 in NCAAB

The Bowling Green Falcons are a team that seeks to impose itself on its opponents from a physical standpoint, but also lacks punch from a shooting standpoint. They did not necessarily close the schedule strong, but they have every reason to believe they can do some damage in the Mid-American Conference tournament. 

The Ball State Cardinals are experienced and solid at both ends of the floor. They are not the kind of team that likes to feast on three-pointers, which means they are going to pose a test to Bowling Green's inside defense. 

You could say this matchup is for the birds, as the Cardinals and Falcons tangle at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Thursday night. 

TV: ESPN Plus, 9 PM ET.  LINE: Check Intertops for the latest line 

ABOUT BALL STATE: As they came into their first-round game in the MAC tournament, Ball State was not exactly on a roll, having lost five of their last six games. But they rose to the occasion with a 61-43 victory over Eastern Michigan on the road. Tahjai Teague had 15 points for the Cards, who didn't necessarily shine on offense, with 17 turnovers and just five triples. But they did get the job done on defense, holding EMU to 29.4% shooting. The win improved the Cards' MAC record to just 6-12, and it did even their overall record at 16-16. What might surprise some people about this game against Bowling Green is that some of the numbers indicate that they can compete on the boards with this opponent. For instance, like Bowling Green, they are in the top 25 in the country in defensive rebounds per game. And they actually have more average height per man than the Falcons do. Then again, some of the numbers DON'T suggest the Cards will bang with the Falcons. Ball State, for instance, is outside the nation's top 200 in both offensive AND defensive rebounding percentage. The Cardinals are fundamentally a better defensive squad - they are 31st in two-point defense and 43rd in three-point defense. Less than 33% of their total shot attempts have come from beyond the arc, so they don't necessarily do a whole lot to stretch defenses. 



ABOUT BOWLING GREEN: The Falcons did not finish the Mid-American Conference schedule with a flourish, losing four of their last five games. Three of those four losses were by double digits, including the 84-73 decision to nationally-ranked Buffalo last Friday. We're not sure this was a barometer of how Bowling Green stacked up against the upper echelon of teams, but they were a little soft defending inside the arc (yielding 28 of 47) while shutting down the Bulls from three-point territory (just 5 of 26). Demajeo Wiggins had five points and eight rebounds, with Justin Turner tallying 17 points. Michael Huger's team is now 20-11 straight-up (12-6 in the MAC) and 16-12-1 against the spread. They are 2-6-1 ATS over their last nine and have played eight of their last 11 games over the total. Bowling Green's NET ranking is 116, which is only six spots above that of Ball State. And interestingly enough, they are only twelve slots ahead of them (12th vs. 23rd) when it comes to defensive rebounds per game. This is B-Green's long suit, too - they are 57th in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage and have a rebound margin of +5.3 per game. Wiggins is now tenth in the nation in pulling down caroms on an individual basis (10.9). They are not as good defending inside the arc as you might expect for a team that can hit the boards, as they have surrendered nearly 49% shooting. That is only slightly better than the national average. 

EXTRA POINTS 

1. Bowling Green's Justin Turner was named first-team All-MAC this week, while Demajeo Wiggins was named to the second team. Ball State was represented by third-team selection Tayler Persons. 

2. Ball State is now 13-18 against the spread, and this comes in the wake of just one cover in their last eight games, and three in their last 17. 

3. The only meeting between these teams was a thriller; Bowling Green emerged with a 79-78 victory, with 20 points from Justin Turner and 15 rebounds from Demajeo Wiggins, offsetting 28 points by Tayler Persons. 

Prediction

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Key Players to Watch

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Stadium

Stroh Center
Bowling Green, Ohio, USA.
Capacity:

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bowling-green-falcons-basketball Stats 2018-2019

Offensive
Player GP GS P A PH FGA FGM FTA FTM 3PFGA 3PFG RO
Player GP GS P A PH FGA FGM FTA FTM 3PFGA 3PFG RO
Justin Turner 31 0 579 97 34 452 216 125 90 151 57 26
Dylan Frye 31 0 386 78 25 340 139 51 32 211 76 7
Demajeo Wiggins 31 0 380 28 22 241 121 203 138 0 0 90
Antwon Lillard 31 0 286 41 27 204 87 101 71 103 41 33
Michael Laster 30 0 206 81 18 188 74 66 44 40 14 20
Defensive
Player GP GS RD B S TO FP FT
Player GP GS RD B S TO FP FT
Demajeo Wiggins 31 0 247 17 11 75 73 0
Justin Turner 31 0 92 7 43 58 51 0
Antwon Lillard 31 0 88 10 29 48 65 0
Daeqwon Plowden 31 0 83 29 20 28 79 0
Michael Laster 30 0 81 3 33 49 43 0

ball-st-cardinals-basketball Stats 2018-2019

Offensive
Player GP GS P A PH FGA FGM FTA FTM 3PFGA 3PFG RO
Player GP GS P A PH FGA FGM FTA FTM 3PFGA 3PFG RO
Tayler Persons 31 0 514 131 29 421 185 127 101 131 43 10
Tahjai Teague 31 0 421 41 28 299 166 116 78 46 11 61
K.J. Walton 30 0 401 26 26 284 152 136 96 10 1 48
Trey Moses 30 0 252 75 22 194 92 117 68 3 0 58
Kyle Mallers 31 0 224 31 22 191 71 46 40 137 42 37
Defensive
Player GP GS RD B S TO FP FT
Player GP GS RD B S TO FP FT
Tahjai Teague 31 0 178 31 44 68 95 0
Trey Moses 30 0 157 38 28 78 77 0
Tayler Persons 31 0 112 4 35 102 62 0
Kyle Mallers 31 0 99 13 24 59 73 0
K.J. Walton 30 0 79 10 43 54 73 0