Not much love being given to Duquesne ahead of this afternoon’s match-up against VCU and rightfully so. Odds Shark has the Dukes at -19 with Ken Pomroy and RPI Forecast predicting a VCU victory somewhere in that neck of the woods. On paper, this should be a mismatch and a thorough beat down.
- The Dukes are expecting a rowdy environment in the Seigel Center. According to Stephen Nesbitt’s latest blog entry, Jim Ferry cranked up the volume in their final practice the AJ Palumbo Center to help simulate the noise his team will encounter. When asked about going on the road to VCU, the coach said:
We practiced today at our arena and had the music blaring at maximum sound today in our arena so our guys could get used to, hey, you’re not going to be able to hear anything. You’ve got to do a great job of communicating with each other. It’s going to be a crazy environment. We’ve got to go in there with great poise and great focus and play with great composure.
- On a interesting but off topic note, Nesbitt asked about the Dukes defensive woes against the three pointer in the entry and Ferry responds saying his team is primarily focused on denying teams the easy stroll down the lane to the hoop primarily, but his players haven’t done a good enough job working off the help getting to the open shooter on the kick. I think quite a few Duquesne fans have noticed this strategy but I haven’t heard Ferry confirm it publicly. In general, the Dukes have done a nice job limiting opposing guards’ ability to penetrate. However, opponents have at times shot over the defense rather than go through it. I like the strategy long term, but I’m not sure the Dukes have the right players to employ it effectively now.
- Under story lines that will get completely ignored except here and on a twitter feed dedicated to Henrico hoops, LG Gill makes his first trip home to Richmond where he’ll face his former high school teammate Jordan Burgess.
- While I think this one will ultimately turn out as a home win for the bad guys, the Dukes present an interesting match up problem for the Rams. VCU’s entire system revolves around creating a ton of turnovers. To this point in the season, VCU have forced a give away in one out of every four possession their opponents get. Duquesne, on the other hand, have done a great job limiting their turnovers to about one out of eight possessions. VCU is a very good team, but if anyone makes them play a half court game by breaking their press, they are vulnerable. Last year, VCU suffered conference losses against Temple, LaSalle, St Louis and Richmond twice. They were also the first, third, fourth and fifth (tie) place in fewest turnovers in the sixteen team conference last year. For those interested VCU was number two. If the Dukes take care of the ball like they have, I still don’t think they win, but they cover and will give themselves a better shot than anyone expects.