Preview: vs. Fordham

By Steve DiMiceli

Don't get cocky, Duquesne fans. This is not the Fordham team we're used. Sure their record looks like it is, but this is a team with some talent.

Looking at their starting 5 on paper, it's surprising how poorly the team has performed. Chris Gaston is probably one of the 5 best players in the league, but no one talks about him because he plays for Fordham. He averages a double - double. Kervin Bristol is a senior center. Duquesne will have trouble rebounding when both of these guys are on the floor. Brandon Frazier is a 6'3'' PG averaging 11.8 a game and Bryan Smith is one of the more productive freshman in the league. Devon McMillan is getting minutes as a freshman but is probably not quite ready for prime time. He's hitting at less than .300 from the floor, and he takes lot of shots to average 7.8 per game.  Problem is, that's about all Fordham has got right now. In their overtime loss to Dayton this past weekend, only 6 players played more than 10 minutes. Fordham rebounds very well, but they are one of the worst shooting teams in the country. Of course this gives them a lot of opportunities for offensive put backs.  They don't pass particularly well and they turn the ball over a fair amount. They're middle of the road nationally on defense, and as one might suspect, they defend the post better than the three.

Duquesne may benefit from going with the hybrid 10/40 we saw in the first half against Dayton given Fordham's lack of depth and their poor perimeter defense. I would like to see the Dukes drive the lane as well to try to pick up some early fouls on the Fordham bigs. The refs have been generous to us at home this year. If we can put one of them on the bench early, this becomes a much easier game. Hopefully, Sean Johnson is recovered from his strep. We missed him dearly last game.

If the Dukes come out with an effort similar to the one we saw in Olean, they will lose this game. Mark my words. As bad as we expect Fordham to be, they could sting us. In terms of starting lineup, it's not a particularly favorable match up, but they have nothing behind their best 5 players. Rebounding margin will be bad tonight and keep the game a lot closer than it needs to be. I suspect the Dukes will win and probably by double digits somewhere in the low teens. However, I think the game will be much closer over the first 30 minutes than the most expect.

Elsewhere in the A-10, Dayton has Charlotte at home, St Joe's travels to Rhode Island, St Louis hosts Richmond and Temple visits St Bonaventure. The Dukes are currently in 8th due to a head to head tie break with Dayton sit within a game of 5th place.