William & Mary vs Duquesne : The Duquesne Dukes are coming off a .500 season in which they lost 10 of the last 12 games. Duquesne has to like its chances for a bounce back season with Mike Lewis II and Eric Williams Jr. returning, a duo that combined for 28.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
That’s good enough to keep the Dukes competitive in the A-10, while Kellon Taylor is back after averaging nearly 20 minutes per game and shooting 62 percent from the field. The Duquesne Dukes could surprise some people in the second season under coach Keith Dambrot. The Duquesne Dukes have split their last eight home games.
The Tribe are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Dukes are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. Colonial Athletic Association, 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 Saturday games and 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The over is 12-3 in Dukes last 15 overall and the over is 14-6 in Tribe last 20 overall.
I like the fact the William & Mary Tribe have a game under their belt, but the line isn’t high enough for me to back them on the road. The Duquesne Dukes may be coming into this game cold, but they have a really good 1-2 punch in Lewis and Williams, and that should be good enough to allow them to get the win. The Duquesne Dukes should have a winning season, and that involves beating teams they should beat, especially at home. I’ll lay the points.
Duquesne is opening its 103rd season – and second under head coach Keith Dambrot – vs. William & Mary (1-0) on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 5:00 p.m. (ESPN+). DU is 85-17 in season-opening games, including a 80-4 record when opening the season at home. Dambrot is 15-5 all time in season openers: 2-0 at Tiffin, Ashland and Central Michigan, 8-5 at Akron and 1-0 at Duquesne. He is 11-1 when opening a season at home and 8-2 in nonconference home games at DU. William & Mary opened its season with a 79-69 home win over High Point on Wednesday.
The W&M game is the first of four in the season-opening Gotham Classic. DU’s four Gotham Classic opponents averaged 20.8 wins last season, with three coming off postseason appearances: William & Mary (19-12), UIC (20-16, CIT), Radford (23-13, NCAA) and Notre Dame (21-15, NIT).
Duquesne appeared to turn a corner last season in coach Keith Dambrot’s first few months on the job, starting 12-4 and injecting energy into the Palumbo Center.
But after a 64-41 victory at Fordham on Jan. 6, fortunes reversed symmetrically, and the Dukes ended the season in a 4-12 slump, including a six-game losing streak and an 81-68 loss to Richmond in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
What followed was a complete overhaul of the roster that included players either exhausting their eligibility or transferring. Dambrot already had been making plans for the future, bringing in seven freshmen and four transfers.
Duquesne’s administration has committed a wealth of resources to the basketball program, starting with hiring Dambrot and announcing plans for a $45 million reconstruction of Palumbo.
It starts Saturday against William & Mary, a difficult opener. Last season, William & Mary was 19-12 and became the first team in NCAA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field (.511), 40 percent from 3-point range (.434) and 80 percent from the foul line (.810).