Out of conferece review

By Steve DiMiceli

The Dukes finished their out of conference slate 7-7 but ended on a disappointing note dropping the last two by a combined 21 points. It seems as though the road beat downs and the holidays have quieted to the Duquesne faithful save for spirited discussions I'm having on the new board about Greg Amodio. At the end of the day, I expected the team to go 7-7 in the out of conference when I expected a few teams on the schedule to be worse than they actually are. If you can detach from the last few games and try to look at the entire OOC picture, there is a lot to be pleased about, but certainly, some disappointment to go along with them. Here is list of things I liked and things I didn't like.

What I liked:

West Virginia Game - I still get a little excited when I think of this win. This was a great comeback and a wonderful perception win maybe better than any we've had in the last 10 years. To beat Penn St and WVU regularly would go a long way to raise our profile locally. I won't even talk about Pitt.

The Freshman - What an outstanding job the three Duquesne freshmen are doing so far this year! Two have already been named conference rookie of the week and the third Jeremiah Jones could easily make the list at some point as well. Derrick Colter enters Atlantic 10 playing the way I expected him to play next year. He's emerged as an above average point guard and the sky is the limit for him the rest of his career.  Quevyn Winters has been hot and cold. He's excelled against the zone but struggled offensively facing man to man. That seems to be changing. His defense needs to come along but he still reminds me of Chris Johnson of Dayton. Jones has been outstanding defensively and has come a long way since summer in terms of shot selection and sharing the ball.

Winning Close Games - Jim Ferry ran his record in games decided by 6 or fewer points to 4-1 in out of conference play. That's no small accomplishment with such a young team.

What I did't like:

Robert Morris  -  I don't know what it is about this program but anytime they have a game where they can gather some momentum to build on, they always seem to fall short. Rhode Island in '07, Richmond in '08, Virginia Tech in the NIT in '09,  Xavier in '11. I'd put this one right up there. They just can't seem to win the big game that keeps the ball rolling. Second half performance was abysmal.

Not getting enough from everybody but the freshmen - I thought Sean Johnson could possibly take his game to the next level and contend for an all conference spot. He hasn't. I thought Jerry Jones or Kadeem Pantophlet would take some big steps. They gotten better but in some ways, but they were two of the experienced players the Dukes had returning that they need to rely on. If we want to go to Brooklyn, we're going to need all three to perform better.

The Slide - Have to admit that the last two games have sucked. A lot of positives seem to be falling apart like rebounding and the man to man defense. The Dukes struggled on the road all season and its come to a head after losing 3 of the last 4 by a significant margin. They're going to need to learn to play (and coach) a full 40 minutes if they want to improve.