What this game means for Duquesne and for Xavier

By Steve DiMiceli
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It's been widely discussed on our board that this might be the biggest regular season game at Duquesne since the 1970's. It might also be the biggest contest decided between two unranked team's this year. It will certainly be the most anticipated in the A-10 regular season. There is national buzz surrounding this game though not as much as their would've been had both teams come in undefeated. There should be great atmosphere at the CEC and some increased traffic on I - 71 and I - 70 with a strong contingent  of  fans from the Queen City on their way up the Ohio today. This game should have NCAA tournament atmosphere because there will be NCAA implications.

What the game means for Duquesne

I've been thinking about this and 2009 A-10 championship aside, this could trump all of the other games since the 1977 A-10 championship in importance for the Dukes because the life of an NCAA at large berth is essentially at stake. Win and you're back in the drivers seat for the regular season championship and you still control your own destiny. Lose and you've played yourself into situation where you need to win out the regular season to lock up an at large bid before the A-10 tournament. That's probably not realistic A lose would also place a ton of pressure and big boaster of self doubt on the team heading into two very difficult A-10 road tests at UMass and Dayton.The wheels code easily come flying off.

Tomorrow's contest also means a lot for Duquesne in that there will be a lot of people window shopping at the CEC. Some of them will be repeat customers from the Dayton game. Some will be back for their first game since the 80's. I spoke with one graduate student yesterday whose father hasn't been to a game since just after he graduated. He was so excited by the winning streak that he bought he and his son tickets for the game. In terms of local perception, a win tomorrow could do as much for this team as a win in the city game and could really help earn the Dukes a little more respect in the press. It could also help bring an entire generation of fans lost back to the team. However, I think merely playing in a game of this magnitude, win or loss, could have some trickle down positive effects for the program.

What the game means for Xavier

 Xavier does not have as much at stake here as the Dukes go in terms of their post season chances. They currently have an RPI of 22 and wins over Georgia, Dayton, Butler, Seton Hall as well as a number of others in the A-10. They can still suffer a road loss to the Dukes and it will likely not impact their chances for an at large bid. However a win puts them into a position where they have one all but locked up as they hit the softer part of their A-10 schedule in the second half of league play. In all likelihood, it would vault them into the top 25 and probably put them into position to be a favored seed in the dance. Maybe an 8 seed with a second round matchup against Pitt? :) :) :).

A win tomorrow would also be a statement reminding the upstart Dukes  that the A-10 is their league in the regular season and that the program still has some work to do to establish itself as a power in the conference.

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