The Michigan Wolverines are in desperate need of a victory to snap a four-game losing streak that has seen them fall to the likes of NJIT and Eastern Michigan. In the opposite corner, however, as a Coppin State team that is on a bad skid of its own, dropping five consecutive following its lone win of the season. When two hungry teams collide, there is always a sense of urgency to get back on track. We’ll see who can do that tonight (8 p.m. ET, BTN) at the Crisler Center.
At a glance…
|RECORD||6 – 5||1 – 9|
|PPG||Caris LeVert 15.5||Arnold Fripp 13.0|
|REBOUNDS||Caris LeVert 5.2||Arnold Fripp 5.0|
|ASSISTS||Caris LeVert 4.0||Taariq Cephas 3.2|
The last few seasons we have seen a John Beilein team take the court and knock down shots in perfect harmony. This season has been almost the opposite story. During this four-game losing streak, the Wolverines have taken 107 shots from behind the arc, and they have only connected 30 times. Do that math; that’s a disappointing 28 percent from three-point land.
Michigan has always taken many three’s, but those shots came within the flow of the offense and ultimately resulted in high-percentage looks. We haven’t seen too much of that through the first 11 games of this season, and it’s going to take more than a weak defense to get this train back on its tracks.
Coppin State is allowing opponents to shoot nearly 45 percent from deep. It’s a team working under a first-year coach in Michael Grant, who made the jump to the Eagles following six years spent at Division II Stillman College. His team sits on a 1-9 record, and they haven’t been able to compete with any team of significance. Coppin State’s lone win came on Dec. 1 against Goldey-Beacom College. The Eagles toppled on 103 points with the help of 15 made three’s.
Looking at this game on paper, there’s no reason Michigan should lose this game and fall to .500 on the season. In fact, there’s no reason Michigan should even struggle here. That just shouldn’t happen. But as we all know, there is a human element that Michigan hasn’t been able to conquer very often this season. When the other team works harder than you, winning is going to be difficult, especially at this level. I rarely question the work ethic of a team or athlete, and I’m certainly not doing that now, but there is something to be said for desire, and it simply looks like Michigan doesn’t have as much of that as its opponents.
Though it has all the makings to be a game in which Michigan responds vibrantly, I’m not counting on exactly that happening. I’ll still take the Wolverines, though.
Michigan 63, Coppin State 50
Tyler Fenwick is the managing editor of The Big House Report. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.