Preview @ Charlotte

By Steve DiMiceli

The question on a lot of Duquesne fans minds right now is will the bleeding stop this season. The Dukes are mired in their familiar end of the season slump that seems impossible to break once it begins. So will this team fold like the rest or will they prove to be resilient as they have all season until recently.

I've said for a while now that this Charlotte match up is not a good one for the Dukes in a lot of ways. In terms of size and front line experience, Charlotte's got it over the Dukes by a wide margin.  6'9'' junior Chris Braswell leads the way for the 49ers in both scoring and rebounding. He seems like a lock for a double double tomorrow night. Senior Javaris Barnett is 6'7'' but plays more of an outside game. Demario Mayfield plays the role of undersized forward, but is an effective rebounder. Overall, Charlotte could hurt the Dukes on the offensive glass who have slipped to the bottom ten in second (and third and fourth) chances allowed. The Dukes have an advantage against the 49ers deep but inexperienced backcourt. Highly regarded freshman Pierra Henry leads the team in assists and turns it over two and half times a game. The rest of the minutes are spread around. Charlotte will get plenty of opportunities for put backs as they are one of the worst shooting teams in the country. Defensively, they are fair but they generate a high rate of steals.

The good news is that Charlotte turns the ball over a lot. The Dukes have proven to be fairly successful against sloppy teams even if they do rebound well. See UMass. As far as the overall team performance in the GW game, it's difficult for me to believe they can play much worse. The Dukes are due for a better shooting night. They also need to get back to sharing the ball better. The Dukes once elite Assists and Assists to Turnover numbers have significantly weakened in both departments. Of course, it's hard to generate assists when you're missing your shots. The new look Dukes will need to hit from three to open up the Charlotte defense. They'll also need to hold up the effort on the defensive glass and not let the 49ers off the hook for shooting poorly.

I'm inexplicably optimistic for this one. I'm going Duquesne win by 4. A single win in the next 3 will wrap up a .500 or better record and probably a CBI bid.