Breaking Down the A-10 Schedule

By Steve DiMiceli

We don't know the dates for the Dukes' A-10 conference schedule just yet, but we do know who they will play and where. I recently broke down the out of conference schedule. Now it's time to look at the regular season.

To help clear up some confusion after the last entry,  I included my criteria for how I placed games.

Games I would be shocked if the Dukes lost (Greater than 75% chance of winning)


While the A-10 won't be what it was last year, it won't have any gimme games either for a team that's still rebounding from a coaching change and a talent exodus. The Dukes are getting better but so is just about everyone else.

Games the Dukes should win  (55-75% chance of winning)

vs Fordham
vs St Bonaventure
vs Dayton

Here are three winnable home games for the Dukes though they got swept in the season series against these teams last year, 0-4.

Fordham will be without their four year anchor Chris Gaston who missed much of last season with injuries. They won two games without him compared to five with him. Fordham has several quietly efficient post players, all conference candidate Branden Frasier, and former Duquesne target and much hyped recruit, Jon Severe. I don't see much for them at the 3 or in the way of depth.

No one in the conference lost more than St Bonaventure and they might be in a similar situation to where the Dukes were last year minus the coaching change. Like the lot of us a season ago, there is mass denial going on in Olean. I think they have a few interesting players like Matthew Wright, Marquise Simmons and Andall Cumberbatch, but none have played a big role to this point in their careers. The Bona faithful are putting their hopes into an unproven core, just like we did and are counting on a lot to go right not to finish in last place. I expect a drop off from them but I still think they should be good enough that this one will be a contest.

Dayton lost two key players Kevin Dillard and Josh Benson along with Matt Derenbecker. They have a very good incoming crop of freshmen. Another former Duquesne target Dayshon (listed as Scoochie) Smith and Kendall Pollard should lock down the point.  They also add the highly regarded  ex- Ohio State SG Jordan Sibert. Talent won't be the issue so it could come down to a matter of Dayton being Dayton. The Flyers struggled defensively last year and were horrible on the road.  For once, the Dukes should have the bodies to match up with the Dayton post players. Like the Dukes, Dayton will have a whole lot of gelling to do.

Tough But Winnable (35-54% chance of winning)

vs George Mason
vs Saint Louis
vs Richmond
@ St Bona
@ George Washington
@ St Joes'

George Mason will be tough this season and have a shot to build on their CBI finals appearance. 6 of the 10 teams that ended their year in the best of three series went on to the NCAA tournament or NIT the next season. Given how young Mason is, I think they have a very good shot at continuing that trend. St Louis is only on the list because the Dukes gave them trouble in Pittsburgh last year. Richmond could be a good match up for the Dukes. I think we'll have the strength to handle Derrick Williams in the post and quickness to keep up with their guards. As was mentioned, the Bonnies were decimated, but I'll never count a W in Olean before it happens again. GW blew the doors off the AJ Palumbo Center in what will hopefully be looked back on as a bottoming out for the program. I look for the returning players to come back hungry and bring it in Foggy Bottom. If Maurice Creek is healthy and playing well, this moves into the "Upset" category. St Joe's lost a ton of players and I don't buy the addition by subtraction crap I'm reading.  If they were coming to Duquesne, this one would be in the "Should Win."

Upset if we win (>35% chance of winning)

vs UMass
vs Lasalle
@George Mason
@St Louis
@ Rhode Island

UMass is borderline, but they have a ton of talent. I think Jim Ferry is trying to build a team like the one Derrek Kellogg has in Amherst, but he's not really close to their talent level or experience just yet. Lasalle is a dismal matchup for the Dukes as they can do everything the Dukes can and do it better. Rhode Island has too much incoming talent to ignore.

I will run naked in Forbes Ave (C'mon)


Seriously, is anyone even going to kid themselves here?