Friday, December 7, 2007

Dukes visit Huggy Bear and his Mountaineer's

I wish this was Photoshop, but it isn't

Duquesne will travel to West Virginia to play WVU Saturday evening. WVU represents another formitable Big East opponent for the Dukes who lost their last game to nationally ranked Pitt on Wednesday. The Mountaineer's have a new coach, Bobby Huggins, you may have heard of him before. Huggins has his squad off to a 6-1 start, 4-0 at home. WVU's only loss was to Tennessee in the StubHub Legends Classic 74-72. WVU is coming off of a 88-59 home victory over Auburn Thursday night. Yes, 88-59.

The Mountaineer's are led by 6-6 Alex Ruoff (#22 pictured right) and 6-7 Joe Alexander. Ruoff leads the team in scoring with a 16.7 ppg average, and is 22-47 from beyond the arch for a 47% 3 point percentage. Yes, he shoots 47% from 3 point land, pretty scary. Alexander is averaging 14.3ppg and 7.1rpg. Ruoff and Alexander present a difficult combination for the Dukes.

The Dukes pressure man to man defense tends to allow for open 3's which are Ruoffs specialty. Alexander (#11 pictured left) is going to be tough on the Dukes because I just don't know who will guard him. Shawn James and Kieron Achara are both too big and slow to cover Alexander on the outside, however none of our smaller quicker players are tough enough or tall enough to cover Alexander underneath. I'd say that Phillip Fayne would be a good matchup for Alexander, but he barely played 10 minutes against Pitt. Coach Everhart will know what to do. Actually maybe Bill Clark can do the job for the Dukes against Alexander.

The WVU game calls for another strong performance from Shawn James. The Mountaineer's have only one player over 6-8 who sees any amount of significant minutes, 7-0 265 pound senior Jamie Smalligan (#43 pictured right). Smalligan originally a transfer from Butler, plays an average of 14 minutes per game for WVU and is basically just a body down low. I've seen Smalligan play before and he doesn't really do much, he is big though.

I like Shawn James's and Kieron Achara's changes against Smalligan.

I said before the City Game that if the Dukes win one of their games against Pitt and WVU I would be VERY happy. We came up short against Pitt, it is time to put it all together against a tough WVU team.

Coach Everhart and "Hugs" are friends according to the PG

The always handy Game Notes

For the WVU side of the story check out this WVU Blog - Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks

One random note:

WVU's Alex Ruoff and Kieron Achara were both on the 2006-07 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 2 Basketball Team

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