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By virtue of winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament, the Ball State University Cardinals earned their seventh berth in school history in the NCAA Tournament. Seeded #11, the Cardinals will face #6 seed UCLA of the PAC Ten. The Bruins will be playing in the tournament for the 36th time. The game will be played Thursday, March 16, at Minneapolis, Minn., in the first round of the Midwest Regional. Tipoff is 25 minutes following the conclusion of the 7:55 p.m. EST game between Maryland and Iona.
Ball State completed the regular season with a 19-8 record before winning three tournament games to improve to 22-8. BSU's tournament victories all came in Cleveland's Gund Arena against Toledo in the quarter-finals, 64-63 in overtime, against Ohio in the semifinals, 70-67, and over Miami in the championship game, 61-58, The Cardinals' Duane Clemens was voted tournament MVP via his game-high 16 points against Toledo, a game-high 35 points versus Ohio and a team-high 14 in the title game.
Ball State is making its first NCAA appearance since 1995, when they exited with a first-round 81-66 loss to Arizona State. In 1990, the Cardinals made it to the Sweet 16 with wins against Oregon State and Louisville before bowing out to eventual national champion UNLV, 69-67.
Ball State has won its last six games and 11 of its last 12. UCLA has won its last six games.
Ball State holds the MAC's lone win over a ranked team this year. The Cardinals defeated then #24 ranked Purdue on Dec. 18, 72-52. UCLA also holds a win over the Boilermakers this year, 55-53 on Dec. 30.
Ball State has a 3-1 record versus teams in the field of 64, with wins against Purdue, Butler and Indiana State and a loss to Wisconsin. At one point this season, the Cardinals were 3-6 in the MAC's West Division before winning eight of nine games to finish 11-7 and co-champions of the division with Toledo.
The Cardinals are 1-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games versus PAC Ten teams, beating Oregon State in 1990 and losing to Arizona State in 1995. UCLA is 1-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games against MAC teams, having defeated Central Michigan in 1987.