|Who: Coppin State (2-2) at No. 22 Michigan (4-2)|
|Where: Crisler Center (Ann Arbor, MI)|
|When: 3:04 p.m., Friday, November 29th|
|Radio: MGoBlue, 950 AM, 1050 AM, Sirius 93|
Michigan returns to action for a Black Friday matinee, hoping to shake off the disappointment from a loss to Charlotte in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Championship and start rounding into shape for a trip to Duke next week.
All eyes will be on Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas after the two Wolverine starters that suffered injuries over the weekend. Stauskas sprained his ankle while Robinson suffered a bone bruise after a hard fall on his back.
Coppin State travels to Ann Arbor with a 2-2 record, holding wins over Oregon State and (non Division I) Ohio Valley with losses at Cal and to Wagner. The Eagles are ranked 276th in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings with the No. 248 offense and No. 288 defense. Picked to finish somewhere in the middle of the MEAC this season, Coppin State hopes to improve on last year’s 8-24 record. The Eagles did travel 2,890 miles across the country to knock off Oregon State (who won at Maryland this year) early in the season so they are clearly capable of an upset.
Coppin State plays at a fast tempo, averaging just shy of 72 possessions per game, but that’s more a product of its defense than its offense. The Eagles average 18 seconds per offensive possession (240th) and just 14.5 seconds per defensive possession (6th). Those short defensive possessions appear to be a product of surrendering too many layups and open threes. Coppin State opponents are shooting 56% on 2-point attempts (324th) and attempt 41% of their shots at the rim, shooting 69%. When layups aren’t there, Eagle opponents are attempting 40% of their field goals from long range and connecting at a 38% clip. The Eagles don’t force many turnovers and foul a fair amount but do a decent job of cleaning up the defensive glass, grabbing 69% of their opponents’ misses.
Offensively, Coppin State looks a bit better. The Eagles have turned the ball over less than Michigan this season, something we rarely say, giving the ball away on just 13.6% of their offensive possessions. While the extra possessions are nice, they don’t necessarily lead to points. Coppin State shoots just 41% inside the arc (330th) and has opted for a decidedly perimeter-oriented approach. The Eagles attempt 43% of their field goals from long range and connect at a 34% rate. They don’t crash the offensive glass very hard, rebounding just 26% of their misses, but do an adequate job of getting to the free throw line. In its marque upset at Oregon State, Coppin State knocked down 10-of-25 3-point attempts compared to Oregon State’s 7-of-27 long range shooting.
Sterling Smith leads Coppin State in scoring at 17.5 points per game despite a fairly low usage rate while on the floor. The 6-foot-4 guard is the only Eagle to play more than 27 minutes per game, and Fang Mitchell’s most efficient scorer by a wide margin. Smith is shooting 67% on twos and 50% on threes (11-of-22) for a 71% eFG% this year.
Taariq Cephas, Andre Armstrong and Daquan Brickhouse all average double figures and play 22 to 25 minutes per game. Cephas, 5-foot-10, and Brickhouse, 5-foot-8, are both competent setup men, the difference being that Cephas has had some turnover issues this season. Cephas shoots 57% on twos, 38% on threes and uses more possessions than anyone in the Eagle rotation. Brickhouse and Armstrong have both struggled with their shooting but attempt roughly 75 free throws per 100 field goal attempts. Brickhouse is shooting just 39% inside the arc but 40% from outside while Armstrong is shooting 30% on twos and 20% (5-of-25) on threes.
Arnold Fripp anchors the middle at 6-foot-7, 200 pounds. Fripp is a defensive rebounding machine that can draw fouls but isn’t a very efficient scorer. HE’s shooting 36% (9-of-25) on two point attempts but has knocked down 3-of-9 triples this season. Brandon St. Louis is the other interior threat for Coppin State, St. Louis is also a great rebounder, the only CSU threat on the offensive glass, but also struggles to score, shooting just 6-of-18 on the year.
Ken Pomeroy’s metrics like Michigan to cruise in this game, projecting a final score of 82-61, but this should be a good tune up for the Wolverines before traveling to Durham. Coppin State will test Michigan’s ability to close out shooters and stop dribble penetration without fouling – two issues defensively early on this season.
Defensively, the Eagles might not prep Michigan for Duke but should test its shooting ability. Fang Mitchell has been coaching at Coppin State since 1986 and has been known to utilize zone defenses, something he will probably attempt to play against the Wolverines. Michigan’s ability to attack the zone but also make the open shots that it generates will be important after a dreadful shooting night against Charlotte.