My Official 2012-2013 Preview

By Steve DiMiceli

All off season, I've been pondering the 2012-2013 season, and its possible outcomes, as well as looking into the future. Now, we're less than a week away from the exhibition games with the first real games of the Jim Ferry era right around the corner. We know about as much as we're going to know about this team before getting to see them in action. While many fans are looking past this season because of the league predictions that nearly unanimously anticipate the Dukes in last place of the A-10, there is still a lot to look forward to this year. Growth will certainly be the focus but I believe this team will also win it's fair share along the way.

Keys to the Season

How quickly can the team learn the system? - During coaching changes, all the players are freshmen in the sense that they need to learn what the coach expects of them at practice and in games. Ferry will be vastly changing the defense and will implement an even more wide open offense. Don't expect two platoons and 3 point chucking.

Sean Johnson?  - Here is one of the most unsung players since I've been around the program. He's got a very strong chance of finishing his career as an all time top 20 scorer. 10 years ago, he'd have been a 4 year starter and one of the best players on the team each of those years. Johnson had to work his way into the leading role which hasn't happened often in recent history at Duquesne. As a result we write people off too quickly.  "If he couldn't play right away there must be something wrong with him," seems to be the way casual fans approach him. I suspect he will score 450-475 points and land a spot in the all conference team.

Point guard? - From the time TJ McConnell announced he would transfer until Derrick Colter broke out in the summer league, Duquesne fans have been biting their nails about the point guard position. Some still areWhat I think many see as a weakness could become a strength by the end of the season. I suspect Colter will be a starter from day 1, but Marvin Binney could see a near time split to begin the season.

Depth? - Surprisingly, the Dukes have depth especially when Mamadou Datt gets back from his academic probation. At the moment, I don't see a lot of positions where the Dukes lose a lot when the bench players enter save for the two.

Three Point Shooting? - Between Johnson, Colter, the Joneses, Kadem Panthophlet, and Quevyn Winters, we should have number of options behind the three point line. I could honestly see them as one of the better shooting units in the league.


Inexperience - Bet you've heard this one before; the Dukes are a young team. Once again, they return very little experience with only two seniors and a handful bench  players who played substantial minutes, coming back.

Looking past this season - It's easy for fans to look past 12-13 for 13-14 and we've heard a lot from Ferry minimizing expectations for this season. However, I'd like to see more than just growth and I believe this is possible. I hope the players agree.

Rebounding? - The Dukes will not be a lot bigger this year but they will likely play a much more conservative defense that keeps them at home and in position to defend the glass. On top of that, I don't think Ferry will be afraid to put another big man out there to compliment Andre Marhold. Look for fewer blocks and steals but more and one and done's from opponents. 


@ Albany W - Albany lost as much if not more than the Dukes and I see us as the better team even on the road.

@Georgetown L - This year's Georgetown team could present an interesting opportunity for the Dukes on a normal year.

vs. James Madison L - Don't feel good against a veteran team that underachieved last season

vs. North Dakota St. W - And hopefully this one isn't close.

vs. Youngstown St W- Not a lot after Kendrick Perry. Unless he unloads, the Dukes win.

@ Appalachian St W

vs Maine W

vs Pitt (CEC) L - Sadly, this will be another opportunity lost for the Dukes to take the City Game win across Forbes.

vs New Orleans W

vs West Virgina (CEC)  L - Anybody who doesn't stand up when Ron is announced is a doesn't deserve to be a Duquesne fan. Sorry.

vs. Robert Morris W - I feel better about this one with Lijah Thompson out for the season.

vs. Western Michigan W - This team was decimated after winning in fashion in the first leg.

@ University of Louisiana L - Just don't have a good feeling about this one.

@ Penn St L - One man show will spoil the Dukes trip to Happy Valley again.

@ Fordham L - I think Dukes are the better team but lose a tight one.

 vs St Joe's L - Love this St Joe's team this year and next.

@ UMass L - This one could get ugly

vs. VCU (CEC) L - I could imagine there could be a little buzz for VCU coming to Pittsburgh regardless of the Dukes record.

vs. St Louis L - Unless Kwamain Mitchell is still struggling with his injury, SLU should be one of the better teams in the A-10.

@ Dayton L - We always play well there but not this time.

@ St Bonaventure L - I don't predict wins in Olean anymore.

vs. George Washington W - Payback for last year when we blew it.

vs. Xavier W - X might suck even worse than we think they will right now.

@ Temple L - Going away present for the Owls is a loss.

vs. Rhode Island W - It boggles my mind how people think this is a better team than Duquesne.

@ Butler W - I think the Dukes will steal one game this year and this is the one I'm picking.

vs. St Bonaventure W - Hooray home and away splits.

vs. Lasalle L

vs. Charlotte L - The Dukes have to lose at least one game that will piss me off down the stretch, right?

@ Richmond L - If this were at the AJP, I'd call it a win.

Final record. 13-17 (5-11)

5-11 will be borderline for Brooklyn and most years 5 wins is good enough. It might not be this year as I see a lot good but not great programs. Upsets will be plentiful. I think the conference's top teams will have a difficult time getting high seeds in the NCAA tournament, because of league wide depth. Every team at the top of the league will have a bad loss or two.

For the Dukes, URI should be a W. I see 5 games in conference as toss ups, at Fordham, and at home against GW, X, St Bona and Charlotte I picked the Dukes to go 3-2 in those likely coin flips because all but one are in Pittsburgh. If Duquesne can pull off the win against Fordham, I think 6 A-10 wins is a real possibility and Brooklyn becomes all that much more likely.

I was not as kind to Duquesne in close match ups during the non conference schedule where I have them going 1-3. The difference is three of those contests, Penn St, UL, and Robert Morris are on the road with only James Madison coming at home. I'm sure one could argue Albany and Appy St as the 5th and 6th toss ups, but I don't see it that way.

I think the Dukes are working with more than the league thinks we are. It's going to be an excellent year for the A-10 in general, so it would be a pretty crazy statement for Ferry to lead his new team back  to his home in his first year on the job. The closer we get to the season the narrower  my predictive range has become. I suggested earlier in the offseason that the worst case scenario for Duquesne is 10 wins and a best case of 19. At this point, I can't see them doing much worse than what I'm predicting here. Maybe 12 wins. Given the difficulty and frequency of road contests, I can't see them better than 16 victories. We still have a lot of question, but I think we have gotten some answers already. I think this team will win more than others think, but the sad reality is how low the bar has been set. Anything better than last place for the Dukes this year will be viewed as a better than expected by much of the league. The fan in me would be disappointed with anything less than a trip to Brooklyn, but in reality that looks daunting than normal.