The general consensus around the Atlantic 10 (at least according to the A-10 preseason poll) is that the Duquesne Dukes are headed for their second straight last place finish in the conference. But if you think that means that Dan Hurley and the Rhode Island Rams will somehow take them lightly… well, there’s no chance. The Dukes are coming off a rough year that saw them win just one A-10 game in 16 tries, against Temple of all teams. Rhody picked up a hard-fought 67-62 win in Pittsburgh last season and they’ll be looking for similar results in Kingston this year. Let’s take a look at a young but improving Duquesne team.
2012-13 Record: 8-22 (1-15 in the Atlantic 10)
Key Losses: G Sean Johnson, F Quevyn Winters, F Andre Marhold
Key Returners: G Derrick Colter, G Jeremiah Jones, G Jerry Jones
Player to Watch: G Derrick Colter
Colter is the poster boy for Duquesne’s youth. As a freshman last season, the 5’11″ point guard led the Dukes in both scoring (13.5 points per game) and assists (an insane 5.2 per game). DU wasn’t a great shooting team last year, so for Colter to rack up that many assists just shows how dangerous he is. And he still has three more years with the Dukes. Back in February, Colter poured in 20 points to lead all scorers, and also added five rebounds and seven dimes. He is certainly going to make some noise in the conference as he continues to improve over his collegiate career.
Prediction: Rhode Island 81 – Duquesne 62
If you’re going to pick out any of our predictions to bet on, make it this one. The Dukes won’t be able to handle players like Biruta or Martin or even Matthews once February rolls around as Jim Ferry’s team seems destined for another season in the Atlantic 10 basement. One other thing to keep an eye on: former URI Ram Dominique McCoy is now with Duquesne after spending a year in Junior College. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on what he can bring to the team.