Coppin State (4-6) at (13) Texas (10-2)
Friday, December 31st, 2:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frank Erwin Center (16,734) -- Austin, Texas. Television: Longhorn Sports Network. Home Record: Coppin St. 4-0, Texas 7-0. Away Record: Coppin St. 0-6, Texas 1-1. Neutral Record: Coppin St. 0-0, Texas 2-1. Conference Record: Coppin St. 0-1, Texas 0-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The 13th-ranked Texas Longhorns will close out the 2010 calendar year when they welcome the Coppin State Eagles to Austin for non-conference action this afternoon from the Frank Erwin Center.
Rick Barnes' Longhorns have lost just twice in 12 games this season and bring a four-game win streak into this contest. The team is coming off yet another marquee victory, topping top-25 foe Michigan State back on December 22nd in East Lansing, 67-55.
Coppin State has struggled this season to a 4-6 overall mark. The Eagles have dropped three straight games entering this contest and will be playing their second straight ranked opponent, after getting blown out by Kentucky in Lexington on December 28th, 91-61.
Texas has won both prior meetings with Coppin State, including an 86-50 lopsided decision in the last matchup in 2004.
Without scoring leader Michael Harper in the lineup due to the flu, the smallish Eagles were no match for Kentucky last time out. The Wildcats outscored Coppin State 46-26 in the paint and outrebounded the Eagles 43-22. Jordan Lee led the team with 11 points, while Tony Gallo and Akeem Ellis chipped in with 10 points apiece. The Eagles have struggled collectively at the offensive end even with Harper in the lineup. On the season, Coppin State is averaging a pedestrian 66.1 ppg and doing it on only 40.7 percent shooting. Harper has shot an efficient .454 from the floor this season and the team will certainly welcome back his 15.3 ppg. Gallo and Ellis have provided some scoring depth with 12.7 and 10.4 ppg, respectively.
The Longhorns have enjoyed success at both ends of the floor this season and the result is a solid +14.9 scoring margin. The team is netting a steady 76.8 ppg, while limiting foes to just 61.9. Texas is also boasting of a +6.1 rebounding margin and forcing nearly 15 turnovers per game. Sophomore forward Jordan Hamilton is a budding superstar, averaging 19.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He is aided in the frontcourt by senior Gary Joseph (11.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and freshman Tristan Thompson (11.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg). Fellow freshman Cory Joseph (11.6 ppg) provides the perimeter balance, converting just over 40 percent from behind the arc. Texas put forth a strong defensive performance in East Lansing last time out, earning the team a huge road win. The Longhorns held Michigan State to a mere .290 shooting and forced 16 turnovers. Hamilton led all scorers with 21 points, adding eight rebounds and three assists for a solid stat line. Thompson dominated the low post with a double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Johnson tallied 14 points in support.
The Eagles lack the offensive punch to hang with the Longhorns for 40 minutes. Expect Texas to get up early and win this one going away.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 87, Coppin State 59
12/31 10:33:40 ET