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Discussion Starter #1
DUQUESNE

W - BLUFIELD STATE
W - At Robert Morris
W - At Bowling GreeN
W - MARYLAND BALTIMORE COUNTY
L - Pitt (Console Energy Center)
L - At Penn State
W - At Green Bay Wisconsin
W - WEST VIRGINIA (Console Energy Center)
W - IUPUI
L - GEORGE MASON
W - NORTHWESTERN STATE
W - NORFOLK STATE
W - HOUSTON BAPTIST


NONCONFERENCE RECORD: 10-3.


The key to Duquesne's success this year will depend on the following: shooting better from outside (league worst 26% on treys) and defending better from outside (12th in 3PG FG%); grabbing more rebounds (-3.9 margin); getting more consistent point play; developing a deeper bench; and finding more help inside for Damian Saunders. THe Dukes are small or inexperienced in the frontcourt.

I think the Dukes should be better than last year. Everhart recruited some really good shooters and athletic wing players. They really need 6-10 frosh bigman Derrick Martin to get Clearinghouse approval. I predict a huge year for the unsung swingman B.J. Monteiro. He's like a smaller Saunders. Yet while the team has a nice core of four veterans, it's otherwise young and inexperienced.

The Dukes start off easy with Bluefield State (does this qualify as Div. 1 win?). Robert Morris lost coach Mike Rice and the new guy is young. RMU still has talent, but the Dukes should rout their smaller rival.

Bowling Green is young and coming off a poor season. MAC teams have always proven difficult for the A-10 to beat on the road. I see the Dukes eking this game out but wouldnt be surprised if they lost. The good news is that Ron Everhart almost always overachieves in noncon play and beats the teams he is supposed to beat. Hence a win over UMBC too (the school only won 4 games a year ago).

Then comes a tough stretch. The Dukes had their chance to beat Pitt last year. They won't get much of a chance this season.

Penn State is very beatable and the A-10 has had good success against the Nittany Lions. Tough to win on the road vs. a Big 10 team, though. Green Bay Wisconsin lost its coach after yet another 20-win season, but the team returns its top two guards and they have always given A-10 teams trouble. No gimme, this one. Could easily be the third straight loss.

West Virginia has a star in Kevin Jones and some tough veteran guards, but this Mountaineer team might be the least talented of the short Huggins era. This is my upset special. If the Dukes are going to get a bigname scalp, this is the most likely one.

Problem is, if they win they might let their guard down vs. a good IUPUI team that won 20 games last season, including a 73-64 win over Duquesne in Indy. Trap game. IUPUI has a terrific guard named (Young?) who would be an All-Conference player in the A-10. They won't be scared of the Dukes.

I see the Dukes either losing to IUPUI or Mason at home. Mason is tough and physical, the kind of grind-it-out team that gives Duquesne trouble. Both of these games are winnable, but there is little margin for error. The Dukes have to come to play each game.

The team finishes with what should be three relatively easy wins over lower-level Divsion 1 schools.

BONUS

A-10 PREDICTION: 7-9 (17-12 overall).

The Dukes pair up with Dayton, St. Louis and St. Bonaventure. Last year the team 2-5 against thos three teams, losing twice to Bona and barely beating the Bonnies (70-69) in the other game. I can't see the team doing any better than 3-3 in these games, and more likely 2-4. The Dukes also have to go on the road vs St Joes, UMass, LaSalle, Fordham and Richmond.
 

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Reminds me a lot of Charlotte's schedule the past couple years, some really weak-looking teams and then some extremely tough games. I would think that 7-9 in conference would be mildly disappointing for the Dukes fans this year (I'd think a postseason tournament somewhat unlikely). Is Saunders going to be around for another year?

I have a feeling this may be one of the tougher conference seasons in a while. Hopefully everyone takes care of business OOC (including teams missing players) so the bloodbath doesn't wipe everyone out of contention.
 

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Reminds me a lot of Charlotte's schedule the past couple years, some really weak-looking teams and then some extremely tough games. I would think that 7-9 in conference would be mildly disappointing for the Dukes fans this year (I'd think a postseason tournament somewhat unlikely). Is Saunders going to be around for another year?

I have a feeling this may be one of the tougher conference seasons in a while. Hopefully everyone takes care of business OOC (including teams missing players) so the bloodbath doesn't wipe everyone out of contention.
We went to the postseason last year at 16-15, so unless we have a horrible year, the postseason is likely.
 

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We went to the postseason last year at 16-15, so unless we have a horrible year, the postseason is likely.
Fair enough. I guess it is easier to get into postseason tournaments now with those new options. Last year's schedule OOC looks a little tougher to me than this year's, but a win over WV would be quite helpful. It sounds like you guys have a lot of youth to depend on, but with Saunders being a senior (looked it up), it would be nice to see improvement in the conference positioning. On the other hand, I think the league will be a little tougher this year in the middle and bottom.

Do the Dukes fans see anyone other than Monteiro likely to have a break out year this year?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Everhart is clearly counting on some of the young guards to really play well, especially McConnell. He's been raving about this kid like he will be the A-10 version of Jimmy Fredette. Soph guard Sean Johnson also showed good defensive prowess last year. Big question mark is upfront. There are a couple of little used players, Rodrigo Peggau and Andre Marhold, who were well regarded recruits. Peggau has been oft injured and Marhold didnt play much as a freshman.
 

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I think Peggau could have a breakout year. Possibly Marhold. The freshman class is good. Just saw the "fan fest" and was very impressed with the entire freshman class. Wright could be a future star. McConnell knows the game well and is very disciplined.
 

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Bill, they are always hard fought games and you had the best of us last year. But I think you may be underestimating the impact that Chris Matthews had in those wins (and the buzzer beater loss) against the Dukes. I'll take our chances against you guys this year.
 

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Air Jamaica looks like he might be a big steal for the Dukes. I remember how excited some of the Fordham posters were when he committed, before the wheels fell off.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The Bonnies backcourt is very suspect, especially in outside shooting, compared to the top echelon of the A-10. Schmidt will have to find a shooter or two and get great ball-handling from Ogi and Davenport to avoid a season back in the basement. The A-10 is still a guard-driven league.
 

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Any change to this with the loss of EE for 8 weeks, and perhaps not being 100% for the start of conference play?

Also curious on your view who will start at PG for the Dukes the first two months here WH.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The eligibility of Martin doesn’t really change how I think about Duquesne’s sked. He was such an under the radar recruit it’s difficult to know what to expect. And RE like to play a smaller lineup quite a bit.

Eric Evans’ injury does hurt. Sean Johnson can play point, but he’s a bit injured and he’s really a combo guard.

Given the fast tempo RE likes to play, I wouldn’t be surprised if Talley gets the nod with his speed and quickness. He is a true PG who can also shoot. Those are gaudy numbers he put up in high school. I’d start Johnson or Monteiro at WG and bring TJ off the bench. I would not want two freshmen guards in the starting lineup.
 

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I think the Dukes could be a sleeper in the conference b/c of their league road schedule. Half their road games are St. Joes, UMass, Lasalle, Fordham, which are all winnable. Go 3-1 there, pick up one road win (maybe Bona or an upset, hopefully not at UR) and go 5-3 at home and they're 9-7, 19-10 overall (assuming the OOC holds as predicted above).

That said, it makes their OOC that much more important. Their RPI probably won't be stellar without an upset of Pitt (and maybe WVA too) but in my opinion the keys to respectability are the GMU and PSU games. Win those and they will likely stay top 80 rpi if they perform decently in conference.
 

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Stat-sheet Stuffers do a Bit of Everything (David Fox, Yahoo!Rivals - Nov. 13, 2010)

Here’s a look at a sort of “All-America stat-sheet stuffers” for 2010-11, as well as a team of under-the-radar do-everything players.

FIRST TEAM

F Damian Saunders, Duquesne (6-7/210, Sr.)

2009-10 STATS:
15.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.9 blocks, 2.8 steals

THE BUZZ: Saunders was in the top 15 nationally in steals, rebounds and blocks. With 89 steals, he was the only forward in the top 15 in steals and two short of the record for any player taller than 6 feet 6 (he’s 6-7). Saunders has led Duquesne in rebounding, blocks and steals in each of the past two seasons.
 

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I think the Dukes will have a very good defense this year. A lot of their strengths lie in the fast break game as well, so a lot of points off turnovers should be expected. I can see this team getting loads of steals with both Damian and TJ leading the way. The one glaring defensive weakness may be against guys over 6'9. The Dukes have little to nothing down low to stop a powerful athletic big man.
 
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