Iowa (1-0) vs. Coppin State (0-1)
Date: November 15, 2015
Time: 4:00 p.m. CT
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
As if this weekend wasn't big enough, it's Anthony Clemmons Bobblehead Day at CHA Sunday afternoon, as the Hawkeyes take on the hated Coppin State Eagles. Best news of all? This battle of predatory birds is on BTN, which gives us the best first look at Iowa we've had yet.
Coppin State went 8-23 last season with blowout losses to Oregon, Illinois, Notre Dame and UConn, but should be improved this year. They lost their opener by 27, but it was against Kentucky, so that's actually respectable on a cer--
Excuse me, I'm being told that was a 27-point loss to Eastern Kentucky.
So, yeah, this one could be brutal. Coppin State (which is in Maryland, making this the best collegiate reference to The Wire we've seen) does one thing really well: Run. The Eagles were second nationally in tempo last season and posted a ridiculous 85 possessions in their opener. Their only problem is finding positive things to do while running: Coppin State is bad at pretty much everything. They allow opponents to shoot around 60 percent from the field, they don't block shots, they don't force turnovers, and they don't make many of their own shots. Oh, and four of their most important players from last year's team were seniors, so they're also breaking in three new starters and a sixth man. Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?
Junior guard Christian Kessee (6'2, 180) is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle for the Eagles. He is the most efficient offensive player at Coppin State by miles, and one of their few true threats to score from anywhere on the court. Point guard Trevone Seymore (6'4, 170) was a turnover machine against EKU, but also had enough skill to dish out 6 assists in just 22 minutes. Keith Shivers (6'4, 195) started but was not a factor, taking just three shots. James Sylvester (6'0, 170) scored 17 points in 28 minutes off the bench against EKU. He is a capable distributor and scorer when needed. Freshman Lucian Brownlee (6'2, 165) also got significant minutes off the bench against Eastern Kentucky.
If Iowa has a problem Sunday, it should not be due to Coppin State's height. The Eagles started forward Mufaro Murinda (6'7, 195) and center Jerimyjah Batts (6'8, 265) in their first game, but Murinda managed just nine points and two boards, while Batts played just four minutes before picking up three fouls and spending the rest of the game on the bench. Forward Terry Harris, Jr. (6'8, 205) filled in capably, scoring 13 points on 5/14 shooting. Harris and Murinda combined for ten three-point shots and made just two. What I'm saying is, interior offense might not be their thing. Coppin State could turn to junior Izais Harris (6'8, 200) or senior Lawrence Fejokwu (6'9, 218) for some additional height off the bench, but they don't have much for a track record.
Things to Watch
This feels like a game where Iowa might look like two different teams, with the starters methodically pounding Coppin State in the paint and the reserves trying to run with the Eagles. I'm interested in seeing both, mostly because they are snapshots of where the program currently is and where it appears to be headed. Regardless, this should be a fairly low-stress affair for everyone, and we can quickly turn our attention to Marquette next week.