Coppin St.-Indiana Preview
Indiana showed why it's worthy of being the nation's top-ranked team, completely overwhelming a storied program its last time out.
That doesn't bode well for one-win Coppin State.
The Hoosiers will try to sustain the energy they displayed in their last game and avoid a letdown Saturday night when they host an Eagles team that hasn't defeated a ranked opponent in more than 14 years.
Tuesday's matchup of No. 14 North Carolina and Indiana (7-0) was expected to be a classic showdown between national powers. The Hoosiers never allowed it to live up to that billing, however, cruising to an 83-59 victory in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
"It was a huge statement," forward Will Sheehey said. "We prepared for this game for a couple of weeks now. You saw the score, we played hard, we played well, we played together and when we do that, we play well."
Indiana's effort on defense has been questioned, but the team proved it doesn't always have to rely on its offense to win. The Tar Heels, who came in averaging 85.3 points, missed 19 of 20 shots to open the second half and were limited to 22 points after the break.
"I know people criticize us for our defense, and they say 'If they can't play defense, how good can they really be?'" guard Victor Oladipo said.
There are no questions about Indiana's offense, which averages 87.9 points - one of the best marks in the nation. Cody Zeller had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting while Oladipo and Sheehey finished with 19 apiece for Indiana, which won its 25th straight home game over a non-conference opponent.
"We're a family and we've just got to keep staying together and playing for each other and the sky is the limit," said Oladipo, who at 11.9 points per game is one of five Hoosiers averaging in double figures.
Zeller, the near-unanimous preseason All-America selection, leads the way with an average of 15.9 points and is making 63.5 percent of his shots, but he's hardly the only player who should concern Coppin State (1-5).
Sheehey has totaled 38 points in 45 minutes off the bench over the last two games while shooting 76.2 percent, and Oladipo is averaging 14.6 points on 70.0 percent shooting in his last five. Jordan Hulls, who averages 13.0 points, has hit at least three 3-pointers in every game and shot 55.0 percent from beyond the arc.
While the Hoosiers have been red-hot offensively regardless of the opponent, they have a good shot of replicating Tuesday's defensive performance against the Eagles, whose 34.8 percent shooting is among the nation's worst.
Coppin State, off to its worst start since opening 1-10 in 2008, shot 29.0 percent and made just 3 of 27 from beyond the arc in Wednesday's 67-51 loss to Loyola (MD). Freshman Patrick Cole, who averages a team-best 15.3 points, had a season-low seven on 2-of-11 shooting.
It seems unlikely the Eagles will be able to bounce back given they've lost 38 consecutive games against ranked opponents since beating No. 6 South Carolina in the 1997 NCCA tournament.
They're 0-24 all-time against the Big Ten, including a 73-46 loss at Indiana in 2007 in the only previous meeting between these programs.