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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, March 12, 2017 10:02 pm

IPFW's 1st-round CIT rival: Ball State

Aubree Reichel | The Journal Gazette

The IPFW men’s basketball team will play host to Ball State in the first round of the Tournament, the site announced Sunday.

It’s the fourth consecutive postseason tournament for the Mastodons (19-12), who went to the CIT in 2014 and 2015 and the NIT in 2016. It’s the second straight postseason appearance for the Cardinals after playing in the CIT in 2016. It’s the 13th overall postseason appearance for the program.

IPFW fell 84-80 to Omaha in the first round of the Summit League tournament, while the Cardinals (21-12) lost to Akron 74-70 in the Mid-American Conference tournament semifinals.

"Clearly this group is disappointed in the outcome of (March 5 against Omaha)," IPFW coach Jon Coffman said last week. "We went in as a program and where the program has grown to where we expect to win every night we go out. We went into the (Summit League) tournament feeling we had a great opportunity to win."

Coffman declined to talk about the CIT until today.

IPFW and Ball State played in a closed preseason scrimmage in October in which the Mastodons didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half but came out and played well in the second, according to Coffman prior to the team’s scrimmage against Capital in November.

That scrimmage was before IPFW’s successful nonconference schedule that included a win over Indiana. The Mastodons had .500 league record and the early exit of the league tournament.

The Mastodons are led by Mo Evans (16.8 points, 6.1 assists per game), Bryson Scott (16.5 points), John Konchar (15.3 points, 8.9 rebounds), Kason Harrell (10.8) and Brent Calhoun (9.4 points, 1.6 blocks).

Taylor Persons leads the Cardinals with 15.4 points and Franko House averages 13.4. Carroll graduate Kyle Mallers has appeared in all 33 games, starting one, averaging 11 minutes per game.

According to Dakota Crawford of the Muncie Star Press, the Cardinals will be on the road throughout the tournament to help cut down on expenses.

The CIT, in its eighth season, features 32 teams with all games at campus sites and no predetermined bracket.

Future rounds are determined following results of the previous rounds to ensure geographic stability.

Other first-round matchups include Norfolk State at Liberty today, Saint Francis at Jacksonville, Houston Baptist at Campbell and Canisius at Samford on Tuesday, Fairfield at UMBC, Georgia State at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Stephen F. Austin at Idaho on Wednesday and Saint Peter’s at Albany, Furman at USC Upstate, UNC Asheville at UT Martin, Lamar at Texas State and Weber State at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday.

The second round will be played Friday through March 20, the quarterfinals March 23-26, semifinals March 29 and the championship March 31.

The first three rounds will be streamed live on Facebook Live, while the semifinals and championship games will be on CBS Sports Network.