We’re getting into the territory where I’m beginning to reach. Richmond is a good team. They’re not the team that took Chris Mooney to the Sweet Sixteen a couple of years ago and they fall well short of that standard in terms of talent. For me, Richmond fits the mold of a bubble NIT team. I don’t see them being much more than that, but I don’t see them being a lot worse either. A lot would have to go right for Duquesne to jump to the NIT bubble, and they have a very small margin of error if they hope to finish ahead of the Spiders.
I Like the Dukes Front Court More
In terms of bulk and strength, I doubt anyone in the Atlantic 10 has a match for PF Derrick Williams. He takes up space, creates it for his teammates and battles for rebounds. I have my questions about the Richmond post after him. Alonzo Nelson – Ododa played significant minutes as a freshman last year, but didn’t make a great impression. He should improve but if he doesn’t, Deion Taylor or Terry Allen could step into a bigger role. Richmond has talent in the post, but beside Williams, I think it’s still a year away.
It really feels odd typing that I like the Duquesne front court more than another school’s. Rarely has a team fielded a weaker front court than the Dukes in recent years. Duquesne will begin establishing more of a post presence in Jim Ferry’s second year and the core of big men he has assembled should become a plus moving forward. I haven’t seen Dominique McKoy or Isaiah Watkins, but Jordan Robinson could outperform the Richmond sophomores. Ovie Soko’s all around skill set could make him more productive than Williams.
The Dukes Match Up Better Against the Spiders Head to Head
I think anyone who follows the Dukes could tell you that ball control systems beat chaos most of the time. I think anyone who watched VCU’s final three games of the season could tell you the same. With Ferry, Duquesne runs a more controlled up tempo system focused on limiting opposing free throws and second chance opportunities rather than living and dying on the turnover to increase the total number of possessions. The Dukes’ pace should make the Spiders uncomfortable, but they should have better answers in the event that Richmond slows it down. If the Dukes buy into the coaching staff’s philosophy on toughness, the Dukes won’t get bullied for 50/50 balls like they have in the past.
The Spiders Are More Vulnerable To Injury Than Duquesne
I’ve talked about depth as a concern for George Washington and St Joe’s. Richmond has a more serviceable bench but I think their season will revolve around three players, Williams, Cedric Lindsay and Kendall Anthony who I expect to play big minutes. Wayne Sparrow lands somewhere on the fringe of that group. If injury forces one of the main contributors from the lineup, the Spiders will see a substantial drop off to their backup. The Dukes are built to absorb injury a little better in 2013-14.