Coppin State Basketball Season Preview


Dec 1, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Coppin State Eagles guard Taariq Cephas (11) reacts after a Gonzaga Bulldogs basket during the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

We head into the Charm City as The Baltimore Wire’s college basketball preview continues. Now we are off to Coppin State University to anticipate the Coppin State basketball season.

Taking over for a legend is no easy task. Former Stillman College coach Michael Grant has the unenviable task of following Ron “Fang” Mitchell at Coppin, as Fang’s contract was not renewed. Ultimately too many losing seasons ended Mitchell’s remarkable run, even with some limited success in 2013.

Last year Coppin made it the semifinals of the MEAC tournament after upsetting No. 2 seed Hampton in the quarterfinals. They also defeated a major conference team in Oregon State at their home court. The Eagles were 12-20 last year.

Taariq Cephas should be a major star for the Eagles and has been named to the preseason Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) men’s basketball first team. Junior Sterling Smith (10.0 ppg) looks to be the next-best option for the Eagles.

Coppin State was picked to finish sixth in the MEAC preseason poll.

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The Eagles have their usual difficult road schedule. Their first seven of eight games are on the road, with only a December 1 game with Goldey-Beacom College at home. Starting the season at the University of Oregon on November 14 just gets more daunting by playing at Big Ten powerhouse University of Illinois, as well as at the University of Notre Dame. Later road games are at the University of Connecticut, University of Evansville, Eastern Michigan University and University of Michigan. Those are some tough games for the Eagles. Fang played those tough road games purely for monetary purposes, but they may help prepare the young team for MEAC conference play.

The MEAC has no announced television games but Coppin will see some TV time on the Big Ten Network and PAC-12 Network due to their various road adventures.

My prediction: 15-14 before the MEAC Tournament