Ann Arbor, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - The 22nd-ranked Michigan Wolverines return to the friendly confines of the Crisler Center for a showdown with the Coppin State Eagles on Friday afternoon.
John Beilein's Wolverines spent the last week at the Puerto Rico Shootout, and after navigating the tournament field with wins over Long Beach State and Florida State, Michigan fell to Charlotte in a tight affair (63-61) in the Championship Game. Now at 4-2 overall, the Wolverines will play three of their next four games at home.
Ron Mitchell's Eagles are off to a rather uneven start to their season. Coppin State has alternated wins and losses over its four games, with the last outing, a 96-79 win over Ohio Valley. The other win was a 78-73 upset win at Oregon State on Nov. 10.
Michigan has won both prior meetings in this series, with the last taking place in 2009.
Coppin State returns four starters from a year ago, and while that hasn't helped the team in terms of consistently winning games, the offense has been stronger than last season. The Eagles are averaging a steady 81.3 ppg, led by 17.5 ppg from guard Sterling Smith. Three other Eagles help bolster the scoring line with double-digit averages, as Taariq Cephas (13.0 ppg), Andre Armstrong (10.8 ppg) and Daquan Brickhouse (10.8 ppg) have all made contributions.
Smith led the way against Ohio Valley, shooting 7-of-12 from the floor and 6- of-6 from the free-throw line to finish with 22 points. Cephas was a close second, pouring in 19 points, while Brickhouse and Armstrong chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Coppin State, which shot 51.6 percent from the floor in the game, also turned up the heat defensively, forcing Ohio Valley into 25 turnovers.
The Wolverines lost more than the game against Charlotte in Puerto Rico, as both Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III suffered injuries and are questionable to play in this contest. Stauskas was injured late in the game, but did play long enough to net 20 points. Robinson however, was limited to just nine minutes, finishing with four points. Cavis LeVert added 11 points to the cause, but Michigan shot just .311 from the floor, including an ugly .235 in the first half (8-of-34).
Stauskas was right on his season average, as he leads the team with 20.3 ppg. The 6-foot-6 sophomore is shooting .507 from the floor overall, including .474 from behind the arc, all while leading the team in assists (3.0 apg). LeVert has been a steady contributor as well in the backcourt with 13.7 ppg and gives the team another long-range threat (.438 from 3-point range). Robinson (11.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg) may not play with an injured back and that could be a problem, considering he is the team's top option up front.