Louisville Cardinals (1-1) vs. Coppin State Eagles (0-3)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.
Television: ACC Network Extra
Announcers: Kent Taylor (play-by-play) and Jody Demling (analyst)
Favorite: Louisville by 17
Series: Louisville leads, 1-0
Only Meeting: Louisville won 75-49 on Dec. 12, 2001 at Freedom Hall
Projected Starting Lineups:
- G Skyy Clark (6-3, 205, So.)
- G Tre White (6-7, 205, So.)
- G/F Mike James (6-5, 200, R-So.)
- F J.J. Traynor (6-8, 190, Sr.)
- C Dennis Evans (7-1, 215, Fr.)
- G Zahree Harrison (6-0, 190, R-Jr.)
- G Camaren Sparrow (6-4, 185, Fr.)
- G/F Preist Ryan (6-6, 205, Fr.)
- F Khali Horton (6-8, 200, Fr.)
- F Justin Winston (6-8, 220, R-Sr.)
Coppin State’s Season to Date:
About Coppin State:
Currently checking in at No. 360 out of 362 Division-I teams in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, there is a valid case to be made that Coppin State is one of the worst opponents in the history of the Louisville men’s basketball program.
The Eagles won just nine games last season, a campaign that resulted in the termination of sixth-year head coach (and former Maryland star) Juan Dixon. The team’s top eight scorers — including 20.5 ppg scorer Sam Sessoms — are gone from that squad, forcing new head coach Larry Stewart — a first-time head coach who was the MEAC Player of the Year for Coppin in both 1990 and 1991 — to restructure his roster almost entirely through the transfer portal.
Through three games, it seems like Stewart is still trying to gain a handle on which players on his roster are going to give him the best chance of being competitive. A whopping 11 players are averaging double figures in minutes per game, and no one is averaging better than 24.3 mpg.
The team’s only double-figure scorer at this point is senior forward Justin Winston, who was averaging 8.3 ppg for the Eagles last season before an injury limited him to just 14 games. Winston, who also had stints at Saint Bonaventure and Robert Morris before transferring to Coppin State, is a threat to score at all three levels, and has netted at least 10 points in all three games so far this season.
No one else on the team is averaging better than 6.7 ppg, but guards Zahree Harrison — a Saint Francis (PA) transfer — and true freshman Ryan Archey have the potential to be problems for Louisville if the Cardinals are once again sleepwalking on defense.
Stewart said before the season that he wants to implement a “European-style scheme that emphasizes motion, pace and ball movement.” Defensively, he’ll show U of L multiple looks, including some pack line principles, zone and even a little full-court pressure.
The one thing that Coppin State has done well so far this season is force turnovers. The Eagles are getting their opponents to turn the ball over on 23.5 percent of their defensive possessions, the 32nd-best rate in the country. They are big time gamblers on the defensive end, meaning if Louisville is simply careful with the basketball, they should be rewarded with some easy baskets.
I’ll be blunt, this Coppin State team coming into the KFC Yum Center and beating Louisville would be the worst loss in the history of the program. The Eagles are a horrific offensive team, they’re one of the most inexperienced teams in the country, and they have a first-year head coach who didn’t even get into the coaching profession until 2008.
Let’s not hit yet another new low this evening.
—After going 59-0 in November home games from 1991 to 2021, Louisville is just 1-5 in November home games under head coach Kenny Payne.
—Before 2021, Louisville’s last November home loss had come in 1972.
—Louisville is 11-0 all-time in games against MEAC opponents.
—Coppin State’s coaching staff features three players who earned MEAC Player of the Year awards — Larry Stewart (1990 & 1991), Stephen Stewart (1994 & 1995) & Terquin Mott (1997). Mott led the Eagles squad that upset second-seeded South Carolina in the first round of the 1997 NCAA tournament.
—Louisville has won 90 of its last 97 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center, a mark which spans over the last 11 seasons.
—Despite going 2-5 last season and being 1-1 so far this year, Louisville has still won 92 of its last 102 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center, a mark which spans over the last 11 seasons.
—Inside the KFC Yum Center, Louisville has a 99-14 record in non-conference games.
—Kenny Payne and Larry Stewart are two of the 50 Division-I head coaches who are coaching at their alma mater.
—Louisville is 220-14 over the last 20 seasons and 17-2 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. The Cards scored 94 points in their season-opening win over UMBC.
—Louisville is 14-0 over the past 10 seasons when limiting opponents to no more than one three-point field goal.
—Since 2004, Louisville is 128-0 when leading by more than 10 points at halftime.
—Louisville has won 162 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 50 points.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 86, Coppin State 66