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Rutgers Basketball Game #4 Preview vs. Coppin State

What to watch for in the fourth game of the season

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

How To Watch & Listen

Coppin State (0-4) At Rutgers (3-0)

Where: The RAC in Piscataway, New Jersey

Tip-off: Sunday, November 19th at 12:30 p.m. ET

TV: None

Stream: BTN Plus (subscription required) - Lou Brogno & Patrick Boyle

Radio: WCTC 1450 AM & WOR 710 AM - Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM

KenPom Rankings: Rutgers #123; Coppin State #346

(Note: Rutgers rose 24 spots from their last game)

KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 80 Coppin State 59; Rutgers 97% chance to win

Series History: No prior matchups

About Coppin State

The Eagles have played two high major opponents already this season, losing at Oregon by 16 points and at Cincinnati by 43 points. In addition, Coppin State lost to East Carolina by 26 points and just played the last team Rutgers has faced, Cleveland State, on Friday. They lost by 24 points and are 0-4 on the young season and have just one day to recover before taking on Rutgers at the RAC.

First year head coach Juan Dixon, the former Maryland star, takes over a program that’s had six straight losing campaigns and went 8-24 last season. Through four games, the Eagles are averaging just 54 points per game, shooting just 29.5% from the floor. They take 30 shots per game from three-point range, but are only making 23% of their attempts. Oddly, Coppin State is shooting an impressive 81.4% on 59 attempts so far this season. The team is small, with just one player on the roster standing over 6’7” and the Eagles are averaging only 29 rebounds per contest.

They are led by 6’2” sophomore guard Dejuan Clayton, who is averaging a team best 12.5 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Adam Traore is the best frontcourt player on Coppin State and his name might be familiar to Rutgers fans, as he played his high school ball at Hudson Catholic. Traore is a 6’5” JUCO transfer from Broward Community College and is in his first season with the Eagles. He is averaging 9.8 points and leads the team with 6.0 rebounds. Other names to know are 6’3” senior guard Tre’ Thomas (7.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists), 6’6” wing Lamar Morgan from Willingboro, New Jersey (5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds), and 6’8” junior forward Cedric Council Jr. (4.0 points, 3.0 rebounds).

What To Watch For

Dominate Defensively

Putting it nicely, Coppin State is a bad team and have the shot the basketball extremely poorly through four games. If Rutgers brings effort and intensity on the defensive end, its possible they could hold its third opponent to under 40 points this season. Rutgers needs to protect the rim and force the Eagles to take jump shots. Coppin State does love to shoot behind the arc and the Rutgers guards need to contest as many attempts as possible. It would be a positive sign to see the Scarlet Knights completely stifle an inferior team from the opening tip and it all starts on the defensive end.

Attack The Rim

Coppin State does not have a strong presence in the interior and Rutgers should take advantage in the paint in this game. They’ve settled too often for jump shots against smaller teams already this season and hopefully they’ll bring an attacking mindset on Sunday. Going back to defense, Rutgers should have a lot of opportunities to score in transition, as they will likely dominate on the boards and should be able to run out of the break at will. Opponents are shooting 60.2% from two-point range against Coppin State this season so far.

Frontcourt Scoring

Rutgers is trying to get a lot of players involved in the offense early on, but it would be nice to see the frontcourt build some confidence scoring wise in this game. Deshawn Freeman has been steady and has a chance to dominate in the paint against Coppin State. Mamadou Doucoure has shown some scoring ability early on and it would be nice to see Candido Sa get some points in this game as well. It’s unlikely any frontcourt player can match Eugene Omoruyi’s athleticism either.

Make Free Throws

If Rutgers does attack the rim early and often, there will be plenty of opportunities at the free throw line in this contest. As a team, Rutgers is shooting just 60% from the line in three games, so it would be encouraging if they delivered a strong performance from the charity stripe on Sunday

Pedal To Metal

This is an opponent that Rutgers should dominate in every facet of the game. Coppin State just lost to Cleveland State by 24 points, a team Rutgers beat by 32 points in its last outing. After coming out slow in the past two games, it would be nice to see the Scarlet Knights in full throttle mode from the opening tip. Coppin State should struggle to keep up the pace if Rutgers comes out in full attack mode and with a lockdown mindset on defense. End it early and get the bench some more experience in the second half so that Steve Pikiell can rest his starters, as Rutgers has another short turnaround in hosting Bryant on Tuesday night.

To read on five takeaways from the opening week of the season, click here.