Tip-off: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ball State's Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana
Records: NIU 15-9, 8-3 in Mid-American Conference; Ball State, 13-10, 6-4
All-time series: Ball State leads 54-39. Each team won a game against each other last season.
Who to watch: NIU's Lacey James will likely find himself in a critical matchup with Cardinals forward Tahjai Teague, who averages a team-high 15.3 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per contest. Teague has posted two consecutive double-doubles and has 10 assists over his last two games. James has 16 points, 24 rebounds over his last two games.
The lowdown: Ball State, like NIU, plays at a slower pace of play, and leads the conference in points allowed per game, 61.9. The Huskies surrender 63.4. The Huskies remain the only squad in the MAC who opponents are shooting under 40% against (39.2%). Eugene German has also faced no trouble scoring the ball, posting point totals of 21, 25 and 27 his last three times out. He's also coming off MAC co-west player of the week honors. The Huskies carry a six-game winning streak into Muncie Tuesday, the best active streak in the conference.
Key to the game: If NIU can keep Ball State's top three combined scorers under 45 points, the Huskies will be in good position on the road. In the Cardinals' last three losses, BSU's top three leading scorers have combined for 46 (Bowling Green), 40 (WMU) and 42 (CMU).