We once again were lucky enough to track down Duquesne blogger Steve DiMiceli to chat with him about tomorrow night’s huge game between the two clubs. For the Bonnies to remain on the bubble, they’ll need to avoid a home loss to the Dukes who always seem to give SBU a hard time at home. I’d be surprised if this game is not close. Let’s see what Steve thinks…
1. The Dukes have lost some really close games lately and five in a row, what has failed them late in these contests causing them to come up short?
From what I can tell the back court is wearing down. Micah Mason and Derrick Colter have basically been playing iron-man in an uptempo system (Seems like Duquesne has the same issue we do huh?). They did this towards the end of last season too, but they were playing zone on defense and Mason didn’t have to work as hard to get open as he does now. Combine that with games going even faster with the shorter shot clock and the Dukes looked gassed with seven minutes left. Lately, Darius Lewis has been playing more minutes as well and he’s really only good for about 25-27 tops in a game.
2. Duquesne dropped 95 on the Bonnies in round one. Do you expect them to score with that type of ease again Wednesday night in the RC?
No. It seems like the home team sets the tempo in this series. When they’ve been in Pittsburgh, both teams play a fast, wide open game. When they head up river, it’s more of a grind. I wouldn’t expect it to take much more than 75 to win this one.
3. Colter and Mason put 50 on SBU in the first game, do Duquesne’s chances rise and fall with those two solely or can they win without their duo going off?
It might be the opposite. Those two, particularly Mason, have put up big numbers consistently. It’s what the supporting cast does at both ends of the floor that really determines if the Dukes win or lose. Mason went 7 of 8 from three in Dayton and the Dukes lost that game because they couldn’t find anything around the hoop for the last eight minutes. Expect those two to do their damage, but the game likely hinges on how well guys like Lewis, Eric James of LG Gill play.
4. What are your key to victory for the Dukes?
Can this guy finally graduate and leave the A10?
First, they’re going to need to find a way to stay fresh. Finding any minutes from the bench will be key, they don’t even have to be that productive. Second, they need to defend for the full 40 minutes. They’ve looked good in the first half in most of the recent games, but that’s tapered off in the second. Finally, they need to find a way to reverse home court advantage and get the Bonnies into foul trouble underneath. They need to attack the hoop and attack it successfully to win.
5. Are you currently satisfied with your season (15-12, 5-9)?
It’s crazy. This team is exactly where I expected them to be at this point in the season and they’ve only lost to one team that they really should have beaten, but yeah, I’m a little disappointed. 15-12 looks “ok” after three losing seasons, but it looks pretty lousy after 15-7 (5-4). Some of our fans (not me) were talking 20 wins and NIT. I was looking at how they could finish in the top six. Now, I’m hoping they can avoid the play in games again this year. It’s been uncharacteristic of Jim Ferry teams to struggle down the stretch. Now they’re struggling and it’s extra frustrating because they’re had a real opportunity. I’m also disappointed for Mason’s sake. He’s going to walk his way into the career three point shooting record for the Atlantic 10 and is likely going to finish his career second or third in career three point shooting in the entire NCAA! He might be college basketballs’ best kept secret and because his team has virtually no shot at the post season at this point, he’s going to stay that way.
6. Give me the prediction….
I predicted a split in the first run down, but I also predicted the road teams would win both games. Between the Dukes desperation and the Bonnies’ win in Dayton, this has the feel of a potential trap game. While this hasn’t been a very hot rivalry in recent years, it certainly is one where neither side likes the other to have nice things. I could see St Bonaventure winning to keep their at large hopes alive, but I could also see the Dukes playing spoiler.