The Dukes will play one of their toughest opponents of the season this weekend when they travel to Rhode Island to play the Rams. Rhode Island is a fantastic team and the Dukes will have to play a near flawless game to upset the Rams on Sunday. The Dukes have dominated their recent opponents but the kind of effort that they had against Fordham who they defeated by 12, and led by as many as 18 points with only a few minutes left in the game, will not be nearly enough to defeat Rhode Island on the road.
Rhode Island is 14-2 with their only loses coming at Boston College and at Dayton. The Rams already have a signature victory over Syracuse and quality wins over Providence, UAB, USF, and Hofstra. Rhode Island is coached by Jim Baron the 06-07 A10 Coach of the Year. Baron has been a head coach since 1987 and has taken St. Francis (PA) and St. Bonaventure to the NCAA Tournament. Since taking over at Rhode Island the Rams have gone to the NIT Tournament twice and Baron has been named A10 Coach of the Year twice.
Rhode Island is led by 6'8 senior forward Will Daniels (pictured below). Daniels was a first team A10 selection following his junior season and is having a fantastic 07-08 season. Daniels leads the Rams in scoring with 18.8ppg and averages 7.2 rpg.
Will Daniels represents another strong A10 post player, Shawn James and Kieron Achara better bring their A games if they want to contain him on Sunday.
Junior Jimmy Baron, the coach's son, is second on the team in scoring with 16.3ppg and is one of the best 3 point shooters in the country. Baron ranked 3rd nationally in 3 point shooting percentage last year shooting 47.8%. Baron and Daniels represent a potent inside outside threat for the Rams.
The scary thing is that the Rams have another strong force inside with 6'8 235 pound junior Kahiem Seawright (pictured above). Seawright is a monster on the glass and leads the team in rebounds per game with 8.
I'll be honest I do not like the Dukes chances on Sunday. Rhode Island is coming off its toughest loss of the season at Dayton this week and they will be looking to rebound. Duquesne has not played well against tough teams on the road this year dropping a heart breaker to Drake, and getting killed at West Virginia. The Dukes are capable of an upset, but I am not predicting one.
If the Dukes do upset Rhode Island it would be a travesty if they do not start receiving votes for the AP Top 25.
It appears that Rhode Island fans are quite nervous about playing our beloved Dukes on Sunday.
Here are some comments from a Rhode Island message board:
posted by Neil:
"Is anyone as nervous as I am about Sunday's game? Duquesne is certainly not Hofstra or FDU.There only three losses have been to pitt, wvu, and a good Drake team. Some facts scare the heck out of me. In the a-10, first in rebounding, blocked shots, assists, steals, and turnover margin. Third in free throws and they have balanced scoring with no one averaging more than 24 minutes a game. It's one thing to be angry about Wednesday's loss. This team likes to run and throw a lot of players into the mix. Sounds like us. I expect a very close game."
posted by TK4243:
"The Dukes will come to play! Duquesne shoots the ball well, can really defend, has good guard play, and James in the middle. Do we have an answer for Shawn? It appears to me that the Dukes are deeper than the Rams."
posted by reef:
"I am very nervous about this game. we will need to play well to win."