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StLouHoo's Preview:

A Sleepy Start to the Weekend

Coppin State Eagles

Virginia welcomes the first of two MEAC lightweights into JPJ on its schedule, and hope it's an opportunity to get the reserves a lot of run. Will Coppin State comply, or will they make this more competitive than it ought to be?

Game Details:

Date/Time:Friday, November 16th, 7:00 pm ET
Location:John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
TV:ACCX

 

What 'They' Say

Vegas:No line
TAPE:Ranks Coppin St #346, Predicts an 84-48 UVA win, 100% confidence
KenPom:Ranks Coppin St #348, Predicts an 82-47 UVA win, 99.9% confidence

 

Depth Chart:

Starters
PG#13 Dejuan Clayton, 6'2" 185, SO
31.0 mpg, 11.0 ppg, 1.7 apg, .357 3P%
SG#22 Lamar Morgan, 6'6" 200, SR
27.0 mpg, 10.0 ppg, 0.3 apg, .231 3P%
SF#23 Kent Auslander, 6'6" 200, SR
15.3 mpg, 2.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, .250 FG%
PF#1 Chad Andrews-Fulton, 6'7" 215, SR
17.3 mpg, 4.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .333 FG%
C#5 Cedric Council, 6'8" 220, SR
20.7 mpg, 3.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, .500 FG%
Key Reserves
SG#4 Nigel Marshall, 6'5" 210, FR
17.7 mpg, 6.3 ppg, 0.3 apg, .429 3P%
F#11 Justin Steers, 6'6" 195, FR
14.7 mpg, 4.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, .455 FG%
C#25 Brendan Medley-Bacon, 7'0" 235, FR
14.7 mpg, 1.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .167 FG%

 

The ABC's of Coppin State:

A) They're in the middle of Buy Game hell. It's the burden of the struggling small school, selling the basketball team as a sacrificial lamb to power conference programs in the non-conference slate to buffer the athletic department's coffers. Kudos to these teams who, in a small conference without the benefit of large football/basketball TV contracts, sacrifice in November and December so their non-revenue programs can afford to stay above water. But a sacrifice it is. Of the 15 games they'll play before New Years, only 2 are at home, and their first 8 are away or neutral. They're road tripping to places like Wisconsin, Dayton, Houston, and South Bend, and that much time on the road in such a short period of time is bound to take a toll.

B) They've got a big backcourt. They'll spend most of their game with some good-sized guards on the wings with a rotation of 6'6" 200lb senior Lamar Morgan, 6'6" 200 lb senior Kent Auslander, and 6'5" 210lb freshman Nigel Marshall. They'll put big wings at the 4 as well, with 6'7" 215lb senior Andrews-Fulton backed up by the 6'6" freshman Justin Steers. The size combined with their spread lineup gives them the opportunity to space the floor offensively while still having the bulk to D-up, rebound, or get into the lane, even if we haven't actually seen them do that consistently against top teams yet. They are holding their on on the defensive glass and blocking shots, however, relatively speaking, meaning that size is showing up positively in some aspects.

C) Ball movement on both ends has been a problem. When the Eagles are on offense, they've struggled not to turn the ball over, and everyone's at fault. PG's Clayton (1.7 apg / 1.7 topg) and Williams (1.3 apg / 2.0 topg) are the start of the problem, but the wings (1.7 topg for Morgan, 3.0 topg for Marshall, 2.3 topg for Andrews-Fulton) are even more guilty. At the other end of the floor, they're only generating 3.7 steals a night (288th nationally), and are sub-300th in KenPom's defensive turnover and steal %'s. Given Virginia's strength (a) moving the ball and (b) preventing other teams' ball movement (recall we held Towson to ZERO assists), this could be the primary turning point.

 

Their Season To Date

Coppin State is 0-3 on the season, averaging about a 24 point loss in road trips to Wisconsin, Dayton, and most recently Navy on Wednesday night.

 

Keys to getting the win:

1) Paint touches. We executed this well against George Washington, running our offense through the lane before kicking back out to shooters or looking to finish at the rim. It set up some great looks that the offense was able to consistently exploit en route to a nice shooting night. No reason not to continue to push into the paint against Coppin State, where UVA should be able to exploit CSU's poor ability to create turnovers by using the pass to get into the lane and then making the extra pass to find an open scorer.

2) Create turnovers. Coppin State doesn't have any plus ball handlers, and between some effective on-ball pressure and high-IQ stalking of the passing lanes, UVA could have a field day taking the Eagles out of their offense before they really have a chance to even get into it. I'm skeptical we'll see a ton of live ball steals leading to easy fast breaks (I won't complain if we do), but instead could see a lot of dead-ball turnovers... out of bounds, traveling, maybe even some shot clock violations. Either way, UVA could stop the Eagles' offense before they even get many shots up.

3) No sloppy play from the bench. UVA was well on the way to a runaway against George Washington, holding them under 20 points in the first half, before our reserves had a "teaching moment" defensively, letting GW get hot in the second. Coppin State is an opportunity to see if the second unit can play better team defense than it did last week, which will go a long way to determining the margin of victory, and ensuring Tony trusts them in more competitive games down the road, especially with Atlantis looming next week and the bench being crucial to three games in three days.

 

 

Predictions:

Again, this is a game UVA is destined to win, the margin of victory being the only question. Coppin State is a level below Towson and GW, so expect the starters, if locked in, to have a very easy day of it. I expect Tony to mix in the youngsters and newcomers often in the first half, and letting the starters sit entirely for long stretches in the second. If there's a game that guys like Jay, Marco, and Kody get to play through mistakes, it's this one, but expect their defensive shortcomings to again allow the opponent to have a bounce-back second half, letting the visitors potentially cover, thought I don't think they break 50 in this one.

Hoos Win 75-47