Coppin St. Eagles @ Kentucky Wildcats (11):  Pregame

As we move inexorably toward Friday night's clash with the Louisville Cardinals in the Chicken Ranch Yum! Center (that exclamation point is just awkward), along the way we face the Coppin St. Eagles from the MEAC conference.  The Eagles come in to Rupp Arena tonight 4-5 overall, having won every home game and lost every road game. Comparative season particulars are as follows, courtesy of Statsheet.com:

W-L Splits: Kentucky Coppin St.
Split W-L Pct W-L Pct
Home 5-0 1 4-0 1
Away 0-1 0 0-5 0
Neutral 4-1 0.8 0-0 -
Conference 0-0 - 0-1 0
Conf Home 0-0 - 0-0 -
Conf Away 0-0 - 0-1 0
Conf Neutral 0-0 - 0-0 -
Top 25 2-0 1 0-1 0
RPI 1-50 1-2 0.33 0-2 0
RPI 51-100 1-0 1 0-0 -
RPI 101-150 0-0 - 0-0 -
RPI 151-200 3-0 1 0-0 -
RPI 200+ 0-0 - 2-1 0.67

Notably, they gave the Connecticut Huskies, who blitzkrieged the Wildcats in Maui, a pretty good game, but were blown out by the Oklahoma Sooners, the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Towson Tigers.  They come into Rupp Arena off an 80-56 drubbing by the aforementioned Badgers last Thursday.  The Eagles are currently #282 in the RPI (UK is #5) and #306 in Ken Pomeroy's ratings (UK is #6).

Coppin St. is like the Kentucky Wildcats in that they have only four returning players from last year's team.  Follow me after the jump as we continue our look at the Coppin St. Eagles. (Interesting factoid:  Kentucky is playing it's second team in a row with the Eagle mascot).

Personnel

Losses from last year:

Name Ht. Wt. Class Comments
Eddie Hayden 6-6 240 Junior Minor reserve
George Jackson 5-11 162 Freshman Minor reserve
Jonathan Landry 6-5 215 Freshman Invisible
Kareem Brown 6-2 190 Junior Starter/reserve, Leading scorer
Lenny Young 6-2 205 Sophomore Starter/Reserve
Mike Buckley 6-5 235 Junior Invisible
Quinston Reggins 6-1 172 Junior Major reserve
Sam Coleman 6-10 212 Junior Major reserve, leading rebounder

Coppin St. played no less than 10 players 15+ minutes last year, so even though the leading scorer Kareem Brown is gone, the points were very much spread around with Brown leading the team at just under 11 ppg.

New faces are as follows:

Name Ht. Wt. Class Comments
Akeem Ellis 6-6 ? Junior JUCO
Antonio Williams 6-6 ? Junior JUCO
Collin Johnson 6-4 ? Freshman
Jordan Lee 6-4 ? Sophomore Walk on?
Logan Wiens 6-7 ? Junior Transfer
Michael Murray 6-5 ? Freshman
Mike Simpson 6-6 ? Freshman
Osman Olol 6-9 ? Junior JUCO
Tony Gallo 5-11 ? Junior Transfer
Rodney Edwards 6-2 ?
Junior JUCO

 


Coppin St. Eagles Basketball Roster With Comments

# Pos. Comments W H College
Branden Doughty 34 F Starter 220 6-8 sophomore
Akeem Ellis 23 F Starter, leading rebounder 6-6 junior
Tony Gallo 12 G Starter, 2nd leading scorer, leading 3-pt shooter 5-11 junior
Vince Goldsberry 11 G Major reserve, assist leader 165 6-0 senior
Michael Harper 5 G Starter, leading scorer, good 3-pt shooter, steals leader
195 6-4 junior
Collin Johnson 24 G Minor reserve 6-4 freshman
Ceslovas Kucinskas 50 C Major reserve 245 6-8 senior
Michael Murray 21 F Major reserve 6-5 freshman
Osman Olol 33 G Minor reserve 6-9 junior
Mike Simpson 15 G Minor reserve 6-6 freshman
Logan Wiens 31 F - 6-7 junior
Antonio Williams 32 F Starter, leading offensive rebounder 6-6 junior

 

Four Factors

 

 

Not too much to say here.  Kentucky easily wins the Four Factors comparison, as you would expect, although I do note that Coppin State is a pretty good ballhandling team.

Overall Game Analysis

Coppin St. was picked tied for last with Florida A&M pre-season in the MEAC, but they played the Morgan St. Bears, the pre-season pick to win the MEAC, very close on the road. In addition, the Eagles gave the Connecticut Huskies a tough game up in Hartford, and Kemba Walker & Co. didn't put the pesky Eagles away until under 2 minutes were left in the game.

Kentucky was dominant from the 3-point arc versus the Winthrop Eagles, putting them away with over 7 minutes to go in the basketball game.  Winthrop is statistically a better team than Coppin St., so it is fairly likely that unless the Wildcats have a Christmas hangover, they will be much too tough for the Eagles tonight.

But every time I get ready to chock this game up to an easy win, I think about the UConn and Morgan St. games.  Morgan St. isn't that good, but UConn is plenty good, and the Eagles put a mild scare into them at home.

Coppin St. does not have the size to dominate Kentucky on the glass, but they do have some very dangerous 3-point shooters, and it will be important for Kentucky to show that they can guard that shot, especially with the #22 Louisville Cardinals, who blasted the aforementioned Morgan St. Bears 104-74 on the strength of 17-23 3-point shooting, coming up next.  If you think Kentucky's win versus Winthrop was impressive, a look at that Louisville game ought to give you pause -- the Cardinals put away Morgan State with over 13 minutes left in the game.

Nothing matters less in college basketball than the results of a previous game, which is a very good thing for Kentucky -- one-upping the Cardinals effort last night would be mighty tough to do against an average high school team, much less the Coppin St. Eagles.  But the Wildcats don't need a blowout, just a victory where they defend well, rebound well, and make open shots.  In fact, I would really like to see another good performance from inside the arc, where Kentucky has occasionally been found wanting this year.

In the final analysis, Kentucky should win easily, but it's important for Kentucky to perform well tonight, if not spectacularly.  Good fundamental basketball is all I ask, and if the 'Cats can do that, their talent and skill should take care of the rest.

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