The Duquesne Dukes have a nonconference schedule for 2014-15 that is very opportunistic.
You could start by looking at two games against non-Division I opponents. You could start by looking at two opponents who are only in their second year of Division I competition. You could start by looking at 8 of 12 games played at home. Or you could start by looking at only one game outside the keystone state.
The Dukes are staring down the barrel of a nonconference schedule that will create high expectations to enter A-10 conference play with a record above .500. Looking ahead at year three of Coach Jim Ferry's rebuilding efforts, Duquesne will find excellent opportunities to notch a "W" against teams like Bluefield State, Abilene Christian, UMass Lowell and St. Francis.
But, don't expect the Dukes to waltz through their entire nonconference schedule. The Dukes will be making a state-wide tour with stops at Penn State, Pitt and Robert Morris, a tour that could easily result in 0-3 should favor not be with them.
Duquesne finds themselves in crossroads of sort. Two years under Jim Ferry has yielded results towards the bottom of the A-10, but nobody expects a mid-major to turn things around over night. Especially when you have say farewell to your top player in Ovie Soko, last year's A-10 top scorer and third team all-A-10. Add to the mix an ever-improving Atlantic 10 conference that just sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament, and you have a recipe for a potential step back.
Much will be expected of one of the nation's leading 3-point snipers in Micah Mason. Now in year two following his transfer from Drake, the Pittsburgh-area local will have plenty of opportunity to step into a bigger leadership position with the Dukes. But, he won't be alone.
An influx of 3-star recruits in Mar'Qywell Jackson, Eric James and TySean Powell along with the addition of red-shirt freshman Jordan Robinson will go a long way in building for the future as well as potentially strengthening the Dukes in the upcoming season's campaign.
The Duquesne Dukes have many reasons to look forward to this season with anticipation and expectation. Regardless of whether one thinks their nonconference schedule is too soft, it will give them chances to win and it will give them chances to learn.
And that is all they can ask for as they prepare for the A-10.
|Nov. 7||Friday||SHIPPENSBURGH (exhibition)||A.J. Palumbo Center||7:00 PM|
|Nov. 15||Saturday||BLUEFIELD STATE||A.J. Palumbo Center||2:00 PM|
|Nov. 22||Saturday||at Abilene Christian||Abilene, Texas||5:00 PM|
|Nov. 29||Saturday||NJIT||A.J. Palumbo Center||2:00 PM|
|Dec. 2||Tuesday||HOWARD||A.J. Palumbo Center||7:00 PM|
|Dec. 5||Friday||vs. Pitt||CONSOL Energy Center||7:00 PM|
|Dec. 10||Wednesday||at Penn State||State College, PA||7:00 PM|
|Dec. 13||Saturday||at Robert Morris||Moon Township, PA||4:00 PM|
|Dec. 17||Wednesday||SAINT FRANCIS||A.J. Palumbo Center||7:00 PM|
|Dec. 20||Saturday||UMASS LOWELL||A.J. Palumbo Center||1:00 PM|
|Dec. 28||Sunday||MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE||A.J. Palumbo Center||2:00 PM|
|Dec. 30||Tuesday||TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN||A.J. Palumbo Center||7:00 PM|