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NCAAs Start Today, Won’t be as Good as 2001 Maui Classic

I guess if you beat a Top 5 team at the buzzer, you can take a breather.

I guess if you beat a Top 5 team at the buzzer, you can take a breather.

That is Patrick Jackson, or Petey as he was known to fellow students. He looks tired. He looks happy. I guess when you hit a buzzer beater to defeat Kansas (ranked #4) in the Maui Classic, I’d say both those emotions apply. But it wasn’t just Kansas. Their reward for beating #4 on national television? A date the next night with #3 UCLA, who the Cardinals promptly ran out of the gym with an 18-point beating. The Cards would go on to lose to #1 Duke in the championship game, but they would enter the next week at #16 in the associated press poll. So as you watch upsets unfold over the next few weeks in the NCAA tourney, just remember that BSU has been there done that on the national television stage. With any luck, Coach Whitford may get them there again.

OTPcast 6.25

OTP Cast Logo200Cheer cheer for old Ball State
Wake up the students it’s time for pregame
Send a Carter’s dog my way
Scotty’s for dinner would make my day
What though the odds be great or be small
We may not get the win but we’ll have a ball
While our loyal fans are marching
Onward to relevancy

Big news this week as Jason and Alan take you through the breaking news of BSU football’s 2018 contest at Notre Dame, the pending spring practice and Spring Game, and March Madness! It’s a shorter OTPcast than normal but equally as awesome.

Couple of different ways to hear this puppy. Viewing OTP in a feedreader? Then visit the site or download the mp3 from iTunes by clicking here. You can also check the OTPcast on your Android device via Stitcher Radio here. Leave us a rating if you like what you hear! Enjoy…

Get Your March Madness on the Right Way with Slingbox

* This post sponsored by Slingbox*

slingbox logoThe Monday after the tournament field is announced is always a day of terrible productivity. Oh sure, I’m working. Oh no, I’m not doing anything other than looking at who’s under-seeded, who’s over-seeded, and who’s going to inevitably bust my bracket as my admin assistant picks based on mascot fierceness or point guard hotness and thoroughly stomps my bracket out in the process.

The crummy thing is the first (or not, if you count the play-in games) two days of the tourney, which are now the second and third rounds of the tourney for some reason, happen at noon on Thursday and Friday. You’re trying to watch basketball and all your boss is doing is complaining about the office supplies missing from the cabinet or how listening to NWA full blast without headphones isn’t great for the office. But thankfully, there’s a solution for that.

Slingbox, in its most simple form, allows you to watch your tv from anywhere that you can connect via a network. Smartphone? Tablet? Laptop? Computer? No problem. Television at your fingertips. Or screentips. Whatever. Close your office door, tell your secretary you’re in a meeting, and giggle all the way to the bank. That’s what wins brackets.

And speaking of brackets, aside from jumping in sponsorship bed with your friendly neighborhood BSU bloggers here at the Pylon, Slingbox is giving away the ultimate cubicle makeover so you can enjoy the NCAA’s March Madness tournament in style. They’ll come to your office and deliver a truly comfortable chair, your own Slingbox 500, and an epic party meal for you and your office mates. So enter today for a chance to win. PLUS 68 runners-up will win a Slingbox M1 to set themselves up for the big dance. You can check that out here.

Zavier Turner to Transfer

Ball State HoopsWhen I worked in DC, the political crowd always dubbed Fridays as “Take out the trash day” because that was the afternoon that you saved all the stuff you didn’t want a lot of eyes on. The backlash for a Friday news story was far less than any other day, thanks largely to most people having a life and not caring what happened on Friday as they were done with their 4th rum runner and second all you could eat wings plate. Mmmmm…. wings. But I digress.

Ball State’s trash news today is that sophomore guard Zavier Turner and 2014 MAC Freshman of the Year is bidding adieu to the Muncie metro area and exploring transfer options. 8.7 points and 3.3 assists was Turner’s stat lines this season, which was a reduction from last season’s 12.1 points and 3.7 assists but let’s not forget the big Turner story this year: the mid-year suspension.

After the suspension the points per game dropped considerably and I’d say it’s safe to say that Turner wasn’t especially thrilled to be there given his reduced role, reduced production, and (for the team) the reduced results. Over the course of Turner’s suspension, the Cards shuffled everyone but the muffin man into the starting point guard role like a former walk on and shooting guards.

Coach Whitford had the cursory “We wish him well…” quote, which was nice. Good luck to Zavier and best wishes wherever he may end up. I hope it’s not Indiana. Though Tom Crean’s tongue kisses probably are polar opposite from Coach Whit’s approach.

Baseball Adjusts Weekend Schedule

Other StuffI’d say that without question the biggest thing in recent memory has been the weather. Planes were skidding off runways, interstates looked like zombie apocalypses, and I got chilled to the bone walking outside to get the Girl Scout cookies out of my truck. So the weather has been THE STORY lately. Leave it to weather to hog some more headlines.

Ball State baseball announced today that due to impending weather and field conditions they were adjusting this weekend’s series at Dayton. What was originally a four-game series Friday through Sunday is now a three-game tilt on just the weekend, with a doubleheader on Sunday at noon. The Cards’ Saturday contest starts at 3.

The weather sucks but warm weather is right around the corner. Get yourself in warm weather shape by catching some baseball right down the road in Dayton.

Watch Out: NCAAB March Madness Is About To Run Wild with Mybookie

NCAA LogoThe month of madness is just a few days away, and already we are sensing a most exciting season coming up. For those of you who do not know what the March Madness is all about – what a pity – it is the annual basketball tournament held every spring in the United States. Get to know the NCAAB March Madness Contest, it currently pits 68 college basketball teams against each other, and starts on the second week of March ending by the first week of April and Mybookie.ag is your window to it all.

Cream of the Crop
As in all annual tournaments, there are national favorite teams that dominate the playing field. For years, these teams have shown professional playing prowess and determination to win the game and take home the national pride:

UCLA Bruins
Founded in 1920, UCLA Bruins boasts of 11 Division I NCAA Championships, giving them the record of the most championships. Its unforgettable coach, John Wooden, won the team 10 national titles in just 12 seasons from 1964 to 1975. Right now, with its coach Steve Alford, we are yet to see if the Bruins still have what it takes to bring home the victory.

Kentucky Wildcats
One of the strongest college basketball teams we have is the Wildcats, proud of its record of most all-time wins (2167) and second to UCLA’s record of NCAA championships (8 titles). It holds the record of the most Sweet Sixteen appearances (40) and Elite Eight appearances (35). With its vast history of victory as well as prestige, will the Wildcats grab the championship this year?

Connecticut Huskies
The NCAA champion last year, the Uconn has in its sleeves four NCAA championships, seven Big East Tournament Championships, and ten Big East regular season titles. Uconn is the home of professional basketballs like Ray Allen. Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Richard Hamilton, and a lot more.

How the March Madness Bracket Works
The NCAAB March Madness works through a single-elimination system called the March Madness Bracket. First, thousands of teams undergo a selection process which comes up with a final list of 68 qualified teams. These 68 teams are then grouped into four regions ((East, South, Midwest, and West) and arranged in a single-elimination bracket system. The bracket system predetermines which team, upon winning the game, will face next.

Then each team is ranked, or most commonly termed as “seeded”, within its region. When the College Basketball Bracket is done, we now have lower-ranked teams and higher-ranked teams. The tournament advances by pitting lower-ranked teams against the higher-ranked ones, with three quarters of the teams eliminated every weekend. From Division level, the tournament advances to Regional and on to the National Level.

The game progresses as such until it reaches the last weekend of the Tournament of the Final Four. The final four teams, one from each region, face off in one location for the national championship. Here is where the most awaited moment happens.

Nothing beats the adrenaline rush we get from watching our favorite teams play in the field, and the extreme euphoria from seeing our team bag the title. Will your best bet make it to the championship? Do not miss out!

Sean Sellers Named MAC Freshman of the Year

Ball State HoopsBall State hoops fans have admittedly not had much to cheer about or celebrate during the rebuilding process being championed by Coach James Whitford, but it’s time to break out your celebratin’ shoes for an individual achievement. Cardinal Sean Sellers, fresh off yesterday being named to the All-Freshman Team on Monday, was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year by the media Tuesday morning.

It should have been an easy choice, considering his 12.0 points per game is tops among MAC rookies and his 43.7% 3-point shooting percentage is one of the nation’s best. He also finished fifth in season scoring for rookies in Ball State history, so he’s got that going for him too. Which is nice.

For those that doubt what Coach Whitford can do (or will do if you’re more into the whole forward-thinking thing), it’s the second consecutive season a Ball State freshman has been named the conference’s best. And before you try to indict the lack of results based on that fact, I’d say it speaks more to the dumpster fire that Coach Whitford took over rather than his inability to do the job. But, what do I know?

Congrats to Sean and Go Cards!

OTPcast 6.24

OTP Cast Logo200Jason and Alan are back after the Blizzard of 2015 shut them down for a week with this week’s OTPcast. They welcome on special guest and former BSU Cardinal (and Georgia State Panther) Ben Jacoby to chat about the newest opponent on the 2015 schedule, Georgia State. They also shoot down some myths about the 2008 season. They guys touch on Quake at the combine, the Oscars, the snow, and a whole lot more in this week’s OTPcast.

Couple of different ways to hear this puppy. Viewing OTP in a feedreader? Then visit the site or download the mp3 from iTunes by clicking here. Leave us a rating on iTunes if you like what you hear! Enjoy…

Football Completes 2015 Non Conference Schedule

BSULogoIf you’re a loyal OTPcast listener, you know that one of the things Jason and I have been worried about was the completion of the 2015 out of conference schedule. It was getting to be a tall task to find an opponent with a hole we found worthy of filling, and today that hole was announced by the Cardinals as the one belonging to Georgia State, whom the Cards will play in Scheumann Stadium on October 17 and in the Georgia Dome in 2016.

You might not know much about Georgia State, but they were founded in 2010 and last season was the first they were eligible for the post season. That eligibility was a moot point as the Panthers went 1-11 after an 0-12 2013. Their lone victory as an FBS school? South Alabama. On paper, this is a game that seems to match an established program with one in the infancy stages with very little success and very little connection. However, the connections between the Cards and Georgia State are there. Their head coach, Trent Miles, was the former coach at Indiana State. Former Ball Stater Ben Jacoby also finished his career at Georgia State after transferring after two years in Muncie.

It’s really an ideal solution for the Cardinals given their scheduling needs and the team’s need for some Ws to get back to post-season play. To do both of those things with (as Ben Breiner pointed out) the ability to recruit the south with a Georgia Dome appearance on the horizon is big. What’s also big is in honor of this new opponent, any new season ticket order comes with a crate of Georgia peaches. Come for the football, stay for the fruit.

Softball Splits Saturday at Tiger Invitational

Other StuffMaybe some of you are celebrating your Valentine’s Day by watching 50 Shades of Grey or some other way to enjoy your significant other’s company. Maybe a good number of you are single. Maybe you’re longing for some sports. Maybe you need some BSU sports fix, and you need it right now. If so, you should perhaps see someone about that addiction. That may be serious.

However, get it fed all the same, because your Cardinal softballers split their Saturday in Alabama against Mercer and Winthrop in the invitational hosted by Auburn. Chirp chirp on the plains? Get it on. The Cards dropped the opening contests in Auburn on Friday to Georgia State and Auburn, the latter a 12-1 loss in 5 innings. Auburn is ranked 17th in the country, just so you’re aware. Saturday was a new day with Mercer and Winthrop on the horizon.

To the BSU release!

The Ball State softball team celebrated Valentine’s Day with a Saturday split at the Tiger Invitational hosted by No. 17 Auburn. The Cardinals opened the day with a 9-1 (5 inn.) win over Mercer, before falling to Winthrop by a score of 10-1 (5 inn.).

Ball State (4-4) concludes play in the three-day Tiger Invitational Sunday, with a scheduled 10:45 a.m. ET / 9:45 a.m. CT first pitch versus Eastern Illinois.

In the opening game of the day, the Cardinals faced a pair of familiar faces on the Mercer (5-3) bench in co-head coach Stephaine DeFeo and pitching coach Kim Mazzapica. DeFeo was an assistant coach at Ball State for six seasons (2007-12) and helped guide the Cardinals to three Mid-American Conference regular season championships.

Mazzapica was a four-year letterwinner (2009-12) and three-time conference champion for the Cardinals as a pitcher and finished her career ranked sixth in program history with 33 career pitching wins. Mazzapica was also a volunteer coach for Ball State in 2013, helping guide the Cardinals to another conference title.

Senior catcher Jessica Craft (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) led the Cardinals versus Mercer, collecting three hits, including a solo home run. She also posted a RBI single in the seventh. Reyna finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI on a two-run homer and a RBI double.

In the second game, Winthrop (4-4) held Ball State to just two hits over the five-inning game, with sophomore center fielder Taylor Cooley (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) logging her first career hit in the loss.

GAME ONE RECAP: Ball State 9, Mercer 1 in Five Innings
Long ball was the name of the game versus Mercer, as the Cardinals scored their first six runs via the home run on the way to a 9-1 (5 inn.) victory.

Craft was the first to go yard, as her first home run of the season gave Ball State a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Junior second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam) followed with a three-run blast in the top of the third, extending the Cardinals advantage to 4-0. Sophomore third baseman Amanda Arnett (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) and sophomore center fielder India Steward (Matteson, Ill./Rich South/Western Kentucky) scored on the blast after reaching base via a triple and fielder’s choice, respectively.

Junior shortstop Selena Reyna (Houston, Texas/South Houston) extended Ball State’s lead to 6-0 in the top of the fourth with her first homer of the season. The two-run blast also drove in Craft who opened the inning with an infield single.

The Cardinals added three more runs in the top of the fifth, pushing its advantage to 9-0. With one out, Dabkowski and senior left fielder Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) drew back-to-back walks. After a double steal, Craft came through with a RBI single to drive in the first run of the inning. Cowger followed with sacrifice fly to left to give Ball State an 8-0 lead. Reyna then drove in Ball State’s final run of the game with a RBI double to center field.

Mercer scored its first and only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, on a one-out RBI groundout to the pitcher.

Junior Nicole Steinbach (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) picked up the win in the circle, limiting the Bears to five hits and one unearned run over 5.0 innings of work. She also struck out six batters in the contest, while yielding just one walk.

For the game, the Cardinals scored nine runs on seven hits with one error. Mercer tallied one run on five hits with no errors.

GAME TWO RECAP: Winthrop 10, Ball State 1 in 5 Inn.
After a strong offensive showing in the opener, the Cardinals’ bats fell silent in a 10-1 (5 inn.) loss to Winthrop (4-4) in Saturday’s finale.

With the Eagles clinging to a 1-0 lead after three innings, the visitors struck for five runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth to pull ahead 10-0.

The Cardinals got their lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a RBI groundout from Cowger. Senior center fielder Loren Cihlar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) scored on the play after reached base on an error to open the inning, advancing to second on a Dabkowski walk and moving to third on a Stuedemann groundout.

Overall, the Cardinals scored one run on two hits with one error in the contest. Winthrop posted 10 runs on nine hits with three errors.

We’ll have more tomorrow on softball’s adventures in Alabama along with baseball’s opening season tourney in NC on Sunday. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

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