A Look at the Coppin State Basketball Team

There will be second chance shot oppurtunities for Jonathan Holmes against Coppin State. - Ed Zurga

The Texas Longhorns play Coppin State at the Erwin Center Monday night.

The Texas Longhorns most memorable win over Coppin State came in the second round of the 1997 NCAA tournament. Coppin State, a 15 seed, had upset second seeded South Carolina in the first round of the tournament, leading to a match up with the Runnin' Horns. Antoine Brockington and the Eagles gave the number 10 seeded Texas all they could handle; Brockington dropped 27 points as Coppin State nearly pulled off their second upset in a row. The Runnin' Horns won the game 82-81, with Reggie Freeman scoring 22 points, and Longhorn basketball fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Last season, Coppin State went 14-16, finishing sixth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Head coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell starts his 27th season as head coach of the Eagles. Coppin State lost their first game of the season to USC by a score of 87-73. In that game, freshman guard Patrick Cole scored 25 points, and senior guard Tony Franklin came off the bench to score 23. Sophomore point guard Taariq Cephas and 6-4 freshman Sterling Smith also started with Cole on the perimeter.

On the front line, expect 6-8 sophomore Brandon St. Louis, 6-5 junior Michael Murray, and 6-9 junior Charles Ieans to get most of the minutes. If your first thought after looking at that front line is, "man, they sure look small" then your thought pattern matches mine. During their first game of the season, the Coppin State Eagles were out rebounded by USC. Coach Mitchell's team tracked down only 22 percent of the available offensive rebounds, and 52 percent of the possible defensive rebounds against the Trojans. Expect this pattern to continue during the game with Texas.

One thing to expect going into this game is that Coppin State will shoot early and often from three point range. During their first game of the season, 46 percent of the Eagle's field goal attempts were from beyond the arc. This is right around what their season average was last year. So while this should be an easy win for Texas, if coach Mitchell's team gets hot from long distance, the game could end up being more competitive than expected.

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