December 11, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duquesne Dukes band and student section fire up the crowd against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the second half at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Duquesne Dukes won 60-56. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Selling the Dukes

I think the athletic department has done a much better job of marketing Duquesne this fall. I like the events. I like the jersey trade – ins. I like the attempts to indoctrinate freshmen before the upperclassmen haters latch their teeth into them. Problem is, I still see them falling into a trend where the most highly marketed games end up about who the Dukes play rather than the Dukes. While an opening weekend match up of Duquesne vs Abilene Christian and the follow up against New Hampshire might not drive the casual basketball fan in Pittsburgh crazy, it’s worth bringing a person or two with ties to Duquesne to a game like this. Too often we fall into the trap where the games we help market for the athletic department happen against a well known opponent. It’s a “See! We play big schools, too,” mentality. However, we don’t look too attractive for potential repeat customers when we get crushed by VCU or roll over against Xavier with an 8-1 record in conference play. Problem is, the athletic department advertises for games where the betting line gives Duquesne quite a few points and we fans follow suit. I get that you might have to beg and plead to get people out to either of the first two games but they make a perfect opportunity to introduce or reintroduce a casual fan to Duquesne.

So why invite someone to a game?

Duquesne is the attraction

I  talk about this above but too often Duquesne sits second on the marquee in the most highly marketed and hyped games. They attract fans based on who they play not who they are. With the exception of Dayton, Duquensne never headlines games at the Consol Energy Center. The athletic department did a fairly good job in the early going of celebrating Duquesne’s legacy in the Chuck Cooper Classic while playing chumps, but then they schedule it last year against Xavier. Games with Abilene Christian and New Hampshire put Duquesne at the top of the bill. I hope these games turn into blood baths and why not bring someone new to a game that will make Duquesne look really good? At least you’ll send them home happy.

This Team is Entertaining

The Dukes will have their fast paced offense on full display the next two weekends. The defense isn’t where it needs to be but the casual fan won’t recognize that. This team will run, dunk and score a butt load of points. Along with UMBC, these games are especially great for kids. What’s not to like about that especially if your guest doesn’t have a developed pallet?

Everyone Loves the Underdog

This city and country loves watching a team no one expects to succeed, succeed. Look at what happened with the Pirates. I remain on the more cautious side of cautiously optimistic for this season, but with a good start against a very weak non conference schedule, the Dukes could sit pretty heading into the A-10 play. It would not shock me if this team overachieved and if they do, the buddy you brought to the ACU game got on the wagon while it was empty. They’ll feel more apart of something in the long run if it works out.

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So Abilene Christian and New Hampshire are small potatoes? Fans still flock the Pete to see the cupcakes Pitt brings in. The product Duquesne will put on the floor this year may not be as talented, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun to watch for someone mildly into basketball than the Panthers. I get that it’s short notice, but I encourage all of you to invite at least one person to one of the games the next two weekends. I’m not just talking to the students either. You don’t even have to tell them that Abilene Christian hasn’t played a Division I game in 40 years or clarify that you were talking about hockey when you tell them UNH plays in one of the best conferences in the country. Just sell Duquesne.

Tags: Duquesne Vs Abilene Christian

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