Friday, February 29, 2008

Duquesne blogger answers questions about Dukes

This week I got a request from the author of The Dukes Court, the blogging home of Duquesne Dukes basketball, to trade info on our respective teams heading into Charlotte's 2 p.m. game Sunday with the Dukes at Halton Arena.

Listed below are his answers to my questions about Duquesne. You can see my answers to his questions at

1. Duquesne, like Charlotte, has experienced the craziness of the A-10 this year, registering good wins, but also experiencing losses to teams lower in the league standings. How have the Dukes dealt with that

The Richmond loss at home was one of the toughest this season, and the Dukes played horribly in their next game at Xavier. Losing to Umass at home had a similar effect on the Dukes, who followed up that tough loss by playing horribly and losing to St. Bonaventure. Now that the Dukes have lost two tough games in a row I would expect they are ripe for a defeat Sunday at Charlotte, especially since they have struggled on the road this year.

2. Duquense has lost three in a row and appears to have one of the tougher schedules among A-10 teams down the stretch. How are the Dukes positioned to close the season?

The Dukes seem exhausted as a team, the up-tempo high energy system the Dukes play has them worn out. A similar thing happened last year, the Dukes played well in the first half of the year but then fell apart
during the stretch run of the season. It wouldn't shock me if the Dukes lost their last three games in the regular season, especially since the next two are on the road against tough A10 teams, (Charlotte and
3. The Dukes love man defense, but Charlotte has been at its best against it this season. How has Duquesne faired against other similar teams?

The Dukes defense is the key the team's success. When the Dukes are creating turnovers with their press they win ballgames, (St. Joe's), when a team finds a way to consistently beat their press, (UMass and Richmond) the Dukes struggle to create much of their offense in the half court game. If Charlotte can find a way to deal with Duquesne's press they should continue to have success against the Dukes' man defense.
4. Like Charlotte, Duquesne has played a lot of close games, in wins and losses. What is it the Dukes are missing to put them over the hump?

Experience. Two years ago Duquesne won 3 games, last year they won 10, Duquesne simply doesn't have experience playing in close games, (a decade of losing will do that to a program.) On top of that several of the key members of this year's Duquesne team did not suit up for the Dukes last year, including transfers Shawn James, Kojo Mensah, and freshmen Damian Saunders, and Bill Clark. This year's squad has gelled quite a bit throughout the year, but the Dukes are still learning to play together.
5. Prediction?

Charlotte 68, Duquesne 60
The Dukes have struggled on the road this year, and they have been in a funk ever since they upset Dayton back on February 13.


Anonymous said...

You two sure predicted some opposing score views. 60-something on his end and 90-80-ish on your ened. I hope you are both right on the win column.

Jon said...

As long as you are both right!

Jon said...

My uncles Jim & Rege both went to and played basketball for the Dukes... I am a Niner Alumni and after going to (my hometown) Pittsburgh last year for the game and being the only guy wearing green, it will be nice to see them being the only ones in blue and red. Charlotte moving to the A10 has helped develop a family rivalry... GO NINERS!!! We'll all see you Sunday!