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Coppin State is not your typical tomato can

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 08 Coppin State at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coppin State arrives in Raleigh in the midst of a nine-game road trip. The Eagles have 17 non-conference games this season, and 14 are road games—such is life for programs like this one, which need that guarantee money to pay the bills.

It’s not going so bad for CSU, considering. They’ve already won four games (including both home games so far)—all against D-I competition—and took Georgetown to overtime at the Hoyas’ place. (Georgetown is pretty bad, but still.) Usually the picture is a bit bleaker for teams ranked down near 300 in the Pomeroy Ratings.

But Coppin State can actually shoot the ball, unlike most of the teams ranked this low.

Well, if you’re only going to be good at one thing...

CSU in '23 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
CSU in '23 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
Offense 98.6 (250) 53.1 (89) 19.9 (230) 20.2 (350) 53.5 (78) 35.0 (120)
Defense 108.6 (304) 53.6 (288) 18.0 (222) 36.7 (344) 54.5 (304) 34.9 (238)

If these guys can cut down on the turnovers in league play, they’re gonna be a tough out. Offensive rebounds here and there would be nice but become less essential the better you shoot the ball.

The Eagles are led offensively by Penn State transfer Sam Sessoms (6’0, 189), who is off to an incredible start. Whatever he did this offseason, it worked. He’s averaging 23.9 points per game and hasn’t been held under 16 all season. He’s made nearly 63% of his twos while shooting 37.7% from three and 81.8% at the line. Coppin State’s last time out, he KO’d Loyola in the waning seconds.

Sessoms takes about 32% of CSU’s shots while on the court, and he’s going to be on the court basically all night. He’s gone the distance twice already and played 44 of 45 minutes at Georgetown.

Nendah Tarke (6’4, 200) is second in scoring at 12.9, but has not been an efficient shooter inside or out. He’s good at getting himself to the free throw line, where unfortunately he’s a career 61.7% shooter. He’ll play a lot of minutes because of his defense, though.

Coppin State is undersized and likely to play a lot of zone—or at least, the Eagles profile that way. They’ve been disruptive in terms of steal rate, and opponents have been taking a lot of threes despite that soft interior defense. Forward Justin Steers (6’7, 205) is about it for rim protection but averages less than 20 minutes per game. (He’s also the team’s best rebounder.)

Coppin State likes to shoot threes by the bushel itself, and plays at one of the country’s fastest tempos. So the potential for entertainment this evening is there.

KenPom likes NC State by 21.