The Coppin State men’s basketball team is off to a 2-2 start, but that may have to do more with the offense’s production rather than the defense’s contributions.
The Eagles entered the week ranked in the bottom 20 percent of 345 Division I programs in several defensive categories. They are 335th in points allowed (86.0 points per game), 319th in field-goal percentage defense (48.6 percent) and 292nd in three-point field-goal percentage defense (37.8 percent).
Coppin's offense entered the week averaging 76.3 points, but coach Fang Mitchell said he is not terribly worried about that.
“Our offense is definitely ahead of our defense,” he said Tuesday morning. “We’ve really got a lot more work to do on the defensive end. We’re nowhere where we need to be there. It’s one of those inconsistent phases, and it goes with understanding what I want us to do and with all of the new faces. I think it’s a time situation. We’ll get better as we go along.”
Opponents have outrebounded Coppin State by an average of 6.0 rebounds thus far, but Mitchell said he is more concerned with the team’s perimeter defense.
“Our defense on the perimeter has definitely been weak,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of not giving up easy baskets and inside shots. It’s a combination of both – outside and inside. It’s got to stop. We’ve got to stop people, and we’re not doing that right now.”
That unit figures to get tested Friday afternoon when the Eagles visit No. 22 Michigan (4-2). At 76.7 points per game, the Wolverines are just slightly better at scoring than Coppin State. But they do rank 19th in the country with an average of 9.3 3-pointers.
“They can shoot,” Mitchell said. “They’re a perimeter-oriented team. So we have a battle there of just trying to contain their offense. They’re a high-scoring team and they are up and down the floor. … They’ll definitely be a test for us.”
The Eagles will be underdogs for that contest, but Mitchell said he won’t dial down his expectations against Michigan.
“We go into these games looking to win,” he said. “We’re going to look at some film, we’re going to try to find out where their weaknesses are and try to exploit that, and we’re going to go in looking to win.”