Opponent: Coppin St. comes into Columbus in the midst of a four game losing streak and should pose no threat to an Ohio State team that needs a win. The Eagles are returning 4 starters and 8 letter winners from last year's 12-20 team, but obviously those players don't possess the same skill level Ohio State has seen recently. Coppin State has played 7 of their first 9 on the road and will play their next 8 away from home.
The Eagles struggle to shoot the ball from the floor, connecting on only 40 percent of their shots, becoming worse from the 3point line at 32 percent. Coppin St. scores an average of 63.5 points a game and lose by a 26 point margin. There really is nothing this team is doing well thus far and writing any more about overall team play would be a waste of our time.
Key Players: Tywain McKee (#22 6'2" Sr.) is the only potential scoring threat, but his recent ankle injury could limit his action. He is scoring 18.2 a game and also leads the team in steals at 2 per contest. The Eagles don't have another player averaging in double digits, but do have 9 others that average at least 10 minutes a game. Robert Pressey (#40 6'7" Sr.) and A'Daeron Duncan (#23 6'6" Jr.) are the next leading scorers, each chipping in over 9 points a game.
Other key contributors to Coppin St.'s loss will be Antwan Harrison (#33 6'3" Sr.), Eddie Hayden (#31 6'6" Fr.) and Julian Conyers (#32 6'6" Sr.). Harrison is scoring 6.3 points and Heyden is a local Cbus product (Reynoldsburg) earning 5.5 per contest. Vincent Goldberry (#11 5'11" Fr.) leads the team in minutes at 34.5, but only scores 4.8 a game due to his horrible 30 percent FG percentage. He also leads the team in assists (2.8) and turnovers (2.4).
Notes: Coppin St. is located in Baltimore, MD. and has an enrollment of 4,189 students... They are coached by Ron "Fang" Mitchell in his 22nd season at the school, going 345-287... Coppin St. lost to Kent by 23 and to Xavier by 49.
Buckeye Breakdown: Thankfully for Thad's boys, they took a back seat this week after the BCS announcement. Ohio State is playing their first game in 9 days, taking a few on the chin against 3 highly ranked opponents in an eleven day span before that. Thad knew exactly what he was doing when he created this schedule, the kids finished finals last week and there was no restrictions on practice time, with plenty of things to work on.
Ohio State freshmen have accounted for 44 percent of the Buckeyes scoring thus far and that helps explain their 2nd half collapses in the last three losses. The Baby Buckeyes have seen their overall FG percentage drop to 42.4, which is why they are only scoring 68 points per tilt. Their 3point shooting is at a dismal 32 percent and OSU's free throw woes continue at 66 percent.
I expected a dip in scoring and shooting during the recent stretch of games and the next three should allow the Buckeyes to get their stroke back, but it is the unveiling of Thad's famous man to man defense that I am anticipating most. Ohio State has had to rely on a match up zone to start the season, as their man up fundamentals were slow to develop. Thad does not like to play zone and the defensive pressure should be turned way up, including a three-quarters court press, for tonight's game.
Key Players: Ohio State has 4 games before Christmas and since no one wants to play consistently, I have decided to turn this into a wish list for the Holiday season.
I am still driving the Othello Hunter bandwagon, but he has only scored in double figures three times and reached 10 rebounds once. He needs a string of double-doubles to get his confidence going, because Ohio State desperately needs his inside presence heading into conference play
I want to see Kosta dominate in the paint and reach 20 points at least twice. At times Kosta has looked soft, especially against North Carolina and he is going to have a distinct height advantage against weaker opponents. He needs to pitch a tent in the lane and take the ball up strong EVERY time. He still leads the team at 16 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.
Hopefully Jon Diebler has rediscovered his shooting touch. To his credit he has not forced his jumper and continues to be aggressive on offense, but his shot simply has not fallen. Do you think Diebler has ever gone through a seven game stretch where he shot 21 percent from the floor and 17 percent from beyond the arc? I hope he spent the last week shooting 3's and explodes for 15 of them before Christmas.
I wish for David Lighty to continue his recent double digit scoring and drive the basket with a little more control. After his forgettable performance in New York, Lighty has averaged 11 points and 6 boards over the last three. I'm sure he will be excited to see a return to man defense and should be able to leak out on turnovers, creating a few more easy buckets for D-Light.
Matt Turdwiggler, please just start playing. I want to ditch the nickname, but I can not except 0 points in each of Ohio State's 3 losses and a measly 18 points, 13 rebounds on the season.
If Ohio State can make my Christmas wishes come true and Jamar Butler continues to lead the other less heralded newbies, Thad's team should be able to win 6 out of their next 8, with Florida and at Illinois being the 2 biggest obstacles.
Notes: The Schott spent $500,000 to upgrade lighting features and the scorer's table... Matta is 36-7 against nonconference opponents... Ohio State's schedule strength is ranked 6th toughest thus far.