The A10 basketball schedules were announced the other day, and while we’re going to comment on some of it in the podcast this week, it’s worth a look at the four teams that Duquesne plays twice this year in the conference.
The Dukes will see La Salle, Saint Louis, George Mason, and St. Bonaventure twice this year. George Mason is the newcomer, so there is little history there.
Duquesne has regularly seen home-and-home matchups with both the Bonnies and the Billikens on the schedule over the last several years. The last time they were partnered with La Salle was during the 2007-2008 seasons.
These games can be interesting, as they provide a better look at how a coaching staff and players make adjustments depending on what happened during the first game than you can see during a game, especially if it’s gotten a bit out of hand. Last year, Duquesne didn’t win any of their lone partner game against SBU, so we’ll have to count that out. It’s worth noting that while they lost the second time, they didn’t exactly perform worse.
The prior year, the Dukes saw Dayton, SBU, and SLU twice during the regular season. In each instance, the Dukes were 0-3 in the second game after going 1-2 in the first. They also faced UMass a second time in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and lost after winning the prior game.
In 2010-11, the Dukes went 2-1 in the first game and 1-2 in the second against SBU, SLU, and Dayton. Similarly, they faced St. Joseph’s for a second time in the tourney and lost after winning the prior game.
In short, Duquesne will need to do better against their new partners after not having a lot of success in the rematches over the past several years, whether they were scheduled matchups or the result of tourney seeding. This year won’t be easy. Each of these teams finished with a better record than the Dukes, and two of them went to the NCAAs. There is reason for optimism, as last year was a year of transition due to the short recruiting period that Jim Ferry had available to him and little, if anything, can be learned from it. With more players recruited to fit the system on the Bluff this year, we should be able to learn quite a bit more.
Watching for the adjustments will be a big part of these games, and we on the blog will be looking at what goes right and what goes wrong in the partner games to see if we can guess what tweaks Ferry and the Dukes will have in store for the next time.