Friday, February 22, 2008

The Day After

Here are our new rankings after the whipping we took from Xavier last night:

RPI: #88
Kenpom/Pomeroy: #86
Sagarin: #65

Just for the record here are Xavier's rankings:
RPI: #7
Kenpom/Pomeroy: #15
Sagarin: #9


The Dukes are having a great season but they just aren't at the level where they can consistently win big games. The real question is, can they rebound Sunday when they play an inferior La Salle team at home?

Here is the rest of Duquesne's schedule
La Salle
at Charlotte
at Temple
Saint Louis


Just in case you are sadistic and want to read more about the loss to Xavier here is some recommended reading from Musketeer Madness.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

That's why they are ranked 10th in the country

Box Score

Xavier is crazy good, and they play defense, that is a scary combination. Xavier dominated the Dukes from the 13 minute mark in the 1st half until the final whistle. Xavier outmuscled the Dukes downlow and made their open shots. I don't really know what else to say, Duquesne played poorly on the road against the 1oth ranked team in the country, they got their butts kicked.

Xavier's Derrick Brown (pictured right) ended the game with 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, and 0 turnovers.

Shawn James had 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 blocks.

Xavier Live Blog

Ron Everhart said that he might use the two platoon system tonight against Xavier during the pregame show.

It's official the Dukes are going back to the two platoon 10/40 system tonight.

3-0 Dukes - Shawn James opens the scoring with a 3 pointer.

5-0 Dukes - James with a block and then a layup, he has all 5 points in the game.

6-5 Xavier - that lead didn't last long
Xavier has 7 rebounds, Duquesne 2

10-6 Dukes - Tucker with 5 straight points

14-11 Dukes - Well it looks like we have a shot in this one so far.
The Dukes are moving 4 men in and out of the game at a time, not 5.

15-14 Dukes - 11:57 left 1st half

21-15 Xavier - 7 unanswered for Xavier

23-15 Xavier - make that 9 unanswered
Xavier has 11 rebounds, Duquesne only has 3

27-24 Xavier - 3 pointers by 3 different Dukes bring us back into the game. finally we get some big 3s!

33-26 Xavier -
The Dukes have airballed a number of 3s already
The Dukes aren't playing that well but they are hanging around. Kind of reminds me of the Dayton game...

36-26 Xavier - Shawn James hasn't scored since he made a 3 to start the game. He is now 1-5 so far tonight.

40-26 Xavier - Xavier is on a 13-2 run

42-26 Xavier - 15-2 Xavier run
18 Xavier rebounds, only 9 rebounds for Duquesne

45-26 Xavier - LONG 3 by Xavier to end the half.
26 points is the least amount of points the Dukes have scored in the 1st half all season

Odd that Ron Everhart didn't use any of his timeouts to try and stop the momentum from Xavier's many runs this half. The Dukes were up at one point 15-14 before Xavier went on a 12-0 run.

I guess we know why Xavier is one of the top teams in the country, and why Sean Miller is considered one of the best yougn coaching minds in the NCAA. Hat's off to Xavier, they played great defense in the first half and converted their own scoring opportunities.

Half time stats:
Xavier 23
Duquesne 9

Field Goals
Xavier 17-31, 54%
Duquesne 10-30, 33%

Xavier 14
Duquesne 7

The numbers don't lie Duquesne got crushed in the first half.

Start of the 2nd Half:

Well it went from bad to worse, Aaron Jackson is on the floor hurt. Could this get worse?

49-28 Xavier

Aaron Jackson is back in the game, thank GOD!

50-32 Xavier
Xavier has 10 offensive rebounds
Duquesne has 12 TOTAL rebounds

55-34 Xavier
The Dukes have committed 2 shot clock violations in this game. Xavier plays tenacious defense, wow, impressive.

57-34 Xavier is not only pulling away but they are putting on a show for their hometown fans.

Will this game ever end?

60-36 Xavier

60-40 Xavier
James with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 7 blocks

66-45 Xavier - is this over yet?

68-45 Xavier - 3 minutes left. call off the dogs Mr. Miller

70-45 Xavier
3rd shot clock violation by Duquesne tonight. Seriously? YES!

Final Score:
75-48 Xavier

Q and A with Dukes Court

Be sure to stop by Musketeer Blogosphere to check out my responses to the Q and A from Xavier.


I do plan on live blogging the game tonight so feel free to stop by Dukes Court while you are listening to the game for my running commentary.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dukes Court linked by Deadspin

You know a sports blog has reached a certain point when it gets linked on Deadspin, the king of all sports blogs. Dukes Court was linked this morning on Deadspin's College Basketball Closer page, which was highlighting Shawn James' triple double last week against St. Joseph's.

It has been a pleasure writing Dukes Court this season and I am happy to announce the we will soon reach the 10,000 hit mark.

Q and A with Patrick Cody from Musketeer Blogosphere

I exchanged Q and A's with Patrick Cody from Musketeer Blogosphere yesterday. Be sure to check out his Xavier blog before the big game Thursday night.

1. If you were Duquesne Head Coach Ron Everhart what would be your game plan to upset Xavier?

Duquesne’s style of play should help them Thursday night because Drew Lavender (pictured right) is clearly not 100% Towards the end of the Rhody game Monday night, it was very clear his ankle was bothering him (He rolled it very badly against Charlotte last week). After the game Monday night Sean Miller said Drew’s ankle was at “50%” Because he is our only natural ball handler I’d be surprised if the press didn’t cause us a few problems. Obviously, I don’t want any of our players to get injured, but Drew would be #1 on the list of players I don’t want hurt. Xavier tends to go as Drew goes. College basketball is already a game of spurts as it is and they will be even more magnified with the Dukes up-tempo style. Although Duquesne needs to be careful about fouling because the Muskies lead the A-10 in free throw percentage. After perusing your blog it does not appear as though the Dukes like to play zone. This makes sense as it slows down the game, but Xavier has not played well against zone most of the year. When teams play man defense, X tends to be able to pick it apart over the course of the game because of the great balance throughout the team. I would advise Coach Everhart to do what you do best, though. Keep the game as fast paced as possible.

2. Xavier does not have any 1 player who averages more than 12 points per game, how are the Musketeers able to be such a successful team without relying on a star player for consistent scoring?

It truly has been a joy to watch Xavier play this season. They epitomize the word “team.” I think the answer is simple. They have just bought into the entire team concept of making the extra pass and deferring to the player who is hot during that particular game. Lately Josh Duncan (pictured right) has been on a tear. He hasn’t missed a shot the past two games for crying out loud. I believe most of the credit for this balanced attack should go to Sean Miller. It’s the coach’s job to make sure the team plays as one singular unit. And it’s not just on the offensive end either. We normally play solid man-to-man with great help defense principles. The biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year has been Stanley Burrell’s commitment to defense. He has more or less shut down Eric Gordon, Chris Lofton, Sean Singletary, Brian Roberts and Jimmy Baron.

3. Pittsburghers are familiar with Sean Miller from his time playing at Pitt. Miller has had tremendous success in his short time at Xavier, where would you say he ranks right now amongst past Xavier coaches?

He’s fast on his way to becoming one of the best in Xavier history. It really depends on how long he wants to stay in Cincinnati. He signed a big extension last summer and has given every indication that he is happy and fully committed to Xavier University. Couple that with a top 25 recruiting class for next year and I really can’t see him leaving soon. There isn’t one Xavier fan that doesn’t love Sean Miller right now. The Cincinnati Enquirer recently had an online fan poll about the state of all the local sport’s teams and Xavier had the most satisfied fan base giving Sean Miller almost a unanimous vote of confidence. If he were to stay here for most/all of his career, then I can’t see him going down as anything other than the best coach in Xavier history.

4. Duquesne features two talented big men, Shawn James and Kieron Achara. What do you think the Musketeers will do to stop the Dukes' post players?

Forgive me for sounding pretty arrogant here, but ever since Xavier destroyed Kansas State and held Michael Beasley to his lowest point total of the season (5) I have not been too worried about any teams big men. Of course, this doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t have big nights. Derrick Brown, Jason Love and Josh Duncan are the big men for Xavier and I have confidence they can go up against anyone in the country. I am worried about James’s shot blocking ability, though, because I am sure he alters just as many shots as he blocks. However, Xavier doesn’t penetrate into the lane that often. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact Shawn James has Thursday night.

5. The Dukes have been able to upset Xavier a number of times in recent memory, any chance Duquesne can pull an upset Thursday night? What would have to happen for an upset to occur?

Ahhhh yes. I remember specifically in the '03-'04 Elite 8 year for Xavier, Duquesne beat us both times, once in late February, which was our one loss in 17 games until the refs beat us in the Duke Elite 8 game. But the Dukes have as good a chance as any A10 team to hand us an upset loss this Thursday. For one, our last 4 A10 games have been VERY close games that went down to the wire. Also, the Dukes have a high scoring balanced team. This is good, because Stanley Burrell has a reputation for taking teams' high scorers and shutting them down. Josh Duncan has been playing very well as of late, but with Xavier's balanced scoring, you can't just say “let’s work on shutting Josh down and we'll be fine." A good 2-3 zone would do Duquesne good against X, as we have had trouble penetrating that particular defense recently. Xavier has also been prone to turning the ball over to some good full-court traps when senior Drew Lavender (a one-man press-break) doesn't have the ball. Play with heart and try to catch these Muskies off-guard, as it is VERY difficult to win at the Cintas Center...but the Dukes have done it before.


Thanks for your candid answers Patrick.


Be sure to check out College Chalktalk's Staff Predictions for the Duquesne Xavier game.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

T.J. McConnell done for season

It seems I put a jinx of McConnell with my post yesterday:

By Mike White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Chartiers Valley, the No. 1 seed for the WPIAL Class AAA boys' basketball playoffs, will be without its leading scorer for the rest of the season.Sophomore T.J. McConnell, who averages 19 points a game, sustained a broken left arm in Saturday's game against Steel Valley and will not play in the semifinals Wednesday against Blackhawk. Chartiers Valley also will be in the PIAA playoffs.McConnell had hurt his left wrist and arm Feb. 1, and re-injured it against Steel Valley when he was fouled on a drive to the basket."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The PG's Mike White on Duquesne Recruit T.J. McConnell

"It's obvious T.J. McConnell's injured left wrist bothers him, but it's painfully obvious that Chartiers Valley needs him if it is going to live up to its No. 1 seed in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

McConnell, a sophomore who averages 19 points a game, had his left wrist injured in the regular-season finale Feb. 1 against Keystone Oaks. He didn't practice for more than a week, but he started and scored 21 points in Chartiers Valley's 52-39 victory against Mount Pleasant in a first-round playoff game Wednesday.

Char Valley probably can't win a WPIAL title without this 5-foot-9 sophomore, who already has made a verbal commitment to Duquesne Univesity. He means that much to the Colts, and not just with his shooting. He also had a number of assists against Mount Pleasant.

Plus, Chartiers Valley already is without starting point guard Eli Maravich. He has been out four weeks with a stress fracture in his leg, but is scheduled to visit with a doctor today and Char Valley's coaches are hopeful he will be cleared to play.

McConnell's wrist was taped for the Mount Pleasant game and it's obvious he still has pain in it. He didn't reach for loose balls and try to make steals with his left hand. He keeps the hand away from scrums for loose balls. He also catches the ball with his right hand first. But he does dribble a little with his left hand.

After the game, Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell, who is T.J.'s father, was asked when his son would be 100 percent.

'I don't know and I don't care. All I care about is that he's still playing,' Tim McConnell said.

T.J. McConnell is one of the WPIAL's best shooters and he made three 3-pointers in the game, which gives him 93 for the season. Barring injury, T.J. McConnell would seemingly have a good chance at breaking the WPIAL career record for 3-pointers. The record-holder, coincidentally, is former Chartiers Valley guard Mike Colbert, who had 302 from 1993-97.

McConnell also saw considerable playing time as a freshman. Chartiers Valley's coaches were unsure of how many 3-pointers he had as a freshman, but believe it might have been around 30 to 40. That would give him more than 120 or 130 for his career so far. With the rest of this season and two more, the record is certainly within reach."