The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
No. 18: Duquesne games
At some point this season, the media will ask Archie Miller about winning on the road. Why is it so hard? How do you prepare to do what you do at UD Arena, where you haven’t lost in almost two years, in places like Pittsburgh. Last season, the Flyers suffered their worst loss at Duquesne, 83-73 to a team that ranked 230 in the RPI.
From an RPI standpoint, that loss was the third worst of Miller’s first four years. The Flyers lost to Miami (247) and Rhode Island (253) in the 2011-12 season. They were 4-2 against teams that ranked 200 or below that season, 6-0 the next season, 5-0 in the Elite Eight season and 9-1 last season.
The Flyers open A-10 play at Duquesne on Jan. 2 and host the Dukes on Feb. 9.
This is Duquesne coach Jim Ferry’s fourth season. He has finished 8-22, 13-17 and 12-19 the last three seasons. That followed a five-year stretch under Ron Everhart in which Duquesne finished .500 or above every season. Ferry received a contract extension in June.
The Dukes return their top two scorers, senior guards Derrick Colter (13.2) and Micah Mason (12.8). Mason ranked second in the A-10 in 3-point percentage behind UD’s Darrell Davis, making 88 of 197 (44.7).
A Yahoo Sports preview of the A-10 named him the best shooter in the conference:
Jim Ferry said this summer that Mason is the top shooter he has ever seen, and the stats certainly back him up on that. The 6-foot-2 guard enters his senior season as the second-most efficient 3-point shooter in NCAA history at 49.2 percent. Mason also averaged 12.8 points per game as a junior and shot 88.6 percent from the foul line.
Duquesne’s third-leading scorer, guard Jordan Stevens (8.9), transferred to Midwestern State. Stevens started his career at a junior college, spent one season with Duquesne and was suspended for the last 10 games.
Despite last year’s record, a writer on MidMajorMadness.com sees Duquesne as a potential surprise team.
Micah Mason and Derrick Colter can fill it up, while I think LG Gill will develop into one of the better forwards in the A10 this year. The Dukes just don’t have very much in the paint which is going to hold them back.
Dayton’s loss at Duquesne last season came about the same time Duquesne assistant coach John Rhodes, who coached with UD’s Kevin Kuwik at Ohio, was in the hospital. He was hit by a car in Philadelphia four days after being diagnosed with cancer. Rhodes is doing much better, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story from earlier this month, and was able to travel with the team to Ireland in August.