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Franimal Planet: Iowa vs. Coppin State Preview

Like a Hostess factory, the cupcake line has been shut off.

Coppin State (3-9) vs. Iowa (10-2)

Date: December 22, 2012
Time: Noon CT
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
Television: BTN

We've come to the end of our box of cupcakes, and this one comes with a heavy metallic flavor. Coppin State is ranked 280th in the latest Kenpom ratings, which is actually an improvement: College Basketball Prospectus ranked the Eagles 344th out of 345 teams entering the season. Coppin State graduated five of its top seven players from a team that went 14-16 in 2011-12, and their lack of experience has shown. The Eagles have played three major conference opponents so far this season (USC, Texas, and Indiana), and lost those games by an average of 24 points. The Eagles have shot a horrendous 37.0% from the field, good for 338th nationally, and their 27.2% shooting from behind the three-point arc is 319th.

That bad percentage from downtown hasn't stopped them from taking the shots, though. Coppin State basically does two things: They play fast and shoot bombs. Coppin State's tempo statistic is identical to Iowa's, and four out of ten shot attempts by the Eagles have been from behind the arc. In fact, it's Coppin State's affinity for the outside shot that makes their most striking statistic so peculiar: Coppin State gets a ton of shots blocked, one in six, the sixth-worst percentage in the nation.

CSU is led by 6'5 forward Michael Murray, who is averaging a double-double (13.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg). Freshman guard Patrick Cole is shooting 31.1% from three and averaging 12.2 ppg. The only other player on the roster with any significant experience before this season is guard Taariq Cephas (5.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.8 apg). The one small concern is that lack of experience, because it is clear that Coppin State is starting to play better. The Eagles have won two of their last three games after starting 1-8 on the season. This isn't the same team that lost to Indiana by 36. It still shouldn't be a problem, but it also limits any comparison with Iowa's next opponent.