St. Joe's comes to Pittsburgh on a tear having won their last 6 games. Most recently the Hawks dispatched cross-town rival Villanova 77-55. St. Joe's is 15-5 overall and 6-1 in A10 play. This is the first home game of the year since we played Pitt that I felt that Duquesne was the underdog.
St. Joe's features 5 players who average 10 points or more. Of course the reason 5 players average that many points is because the Hawk's rotation only consists of 7 players. This begs the question, should the Dukes use the 10/40 against a Hawks team that has a short bench? Normally I would say, of course, but after the 10/40 failed against a much less talented St. Bonaventure team, (who also has a short bench) I am hesitant to go back to something that failed so miserably just one game ago.
Coach Everhart agrees that the 10/40 has not been good to the Dukes lately, Everhart said that the 10/40 system can be "a double-edged sword" because his team seems to flourish when it plays at an up-tempo pace. "When you can't score, you can't press," he said. "We have to be able to press in order to get more opportunities to score."
The Dukes are in the midst of a two game losing streak in which they have shot just 36.2 percent against St. Bonaventure and a season-low 34.2 percent against Massachusetts. Is it possible that the Dukes can continue to shoot this poorly? I sure hope not. Coach Everhart has said on a number of occasions since the UMass game that he feels an "extra pass" is necessary to give the Dukes more open looks at the basket and increase their shooting percentage.
James and Achara are going to have their hands full with Nivins
Standing in the Dukes way is a St. Joe's team that is led by two talented big men, Ahmad Nivins and Pat Calathes (pictured right). Nivins is a 6'9 235 pound junior forward who is averaging 14.2ppg and 6.5rpg while shooting 62% from the field. Nivins will be banging down low with Kieron Achara and Shawn James all night. Pat Calathes is a unique ball player, he is a 6'10 214 pound senior that is listed as a guard/forward. Calathes leads the Hawks in scoring and rebounding with 18.3ppg and 8.1rpg. He also leads the team in blocked shots with 30, and 3 point shots made with 47. He is shooting 45% from beyond the arch this year. It's safe to say that Pat Calathes scares me. I can only imagine who will have the unenviable task of guarding Calathes.
The Dukes will need to return to their early season form to have any shot against a St. Joe's team that has a legit shot at the NCAA Tournament.