Who: Michigan (5-5) vs. Coppin State (5-4)
The last cupcake remaining on Michigan’s non-conference schedule, Coppin State, rolls into Ann Arbor for a pre-Christmas match-up. The Eagles hail from the MEAC conference and don’t have many wins to write home about this year. They are 5-4 with 3 of their wins coming over non-Division 1 teams as well as losses to Colorado, Southern Cal, Morgan State, and West Virginia.
Their statistical profile isn’t pretty either, with an efficiency margin of -.152 (compared to Michigan’s .56) points per possession. The Eagles’ offense is the ugliest. Shooting only 40.1% on two point shots and rebounding only 26.5% of their misses. Coppin also turns the ball over on 21.7% of their possessions and doesn’t find their way to the free throw line often.
Coppin State is the 2nd worst defensive rebounding team in the country but as we know, Michigan is mediocre at best on the offensive glass. A weak offensive rebounding performance will be discouraging but it’s also important not to get too excited if Michigan rebounds the ball extremely well. The rest of Coppin State’s defense is pretty mediocre however the one thing they do well is defend the three point shot, allowing opponents to shoot only 30%. That doesn’t bode well for Michigan’s three point happy attack.
The Eagles feature a trio of 6 foot 2 and under guards who average double digits, Lenny Young (12.8 ppg, 37.1% 3pt%, 4 rpg), Kareem Brown (10 ppg 39.2 eFG%S), and Vince Goldsberry (10.3 ppg, 39.2 eFG%). 6-foot-8 Ceslovas Kucinskas starts in the middle, he’s averaging 7 points and 4 rebounds per game. 6-foot-8 Branden Doughty is the Eagles’ leading rebounder, averaging 6.6 per game.
This is obviously a game that Michigan should win with little struggle. It would be nice to see Michigan shoot the lights out and try to build some confidence before their New Years Eve tilt in Bloomington. In typical coach-speak, Beilein doesn’t see it as any sort of cupcake:
“(Ron "Fang" Mitchell has) been doing this for so many years, and he’s such a good coach,” Beilein said. “This is not just a guaranteed game. He’ll come in here to win the game.”
Mike Rothstein reports that Michigan looks to experiment with the defense a bit and Jay Bilas calls Michigan the team that “most needs a quality win” and points to the Indiana game as the first chance to get a solid W.