PITTSBURGH — There are two games remaining in the Atlantic-10 regular season for head coach Keith Dambrot and the Duquesne Dukes.
Typically, by this team in the season, the picture is pretty clear for where in the 14-team league a squad is going to wind up. That’s not the case for the Dukes, who can finish anywhere from fifth to tied for last, depending on how they finish, with their final finale against St. Louis on Wednesday and a trip to Massachusetts on Saturday.
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With a pair of wins and some help, Duquesne could rise as high as a tie with George Mason, St. Joseph’s and VCU, which are currently 8-8. With a pair of losses, Duquesne could wind up in the cellar alongside Fordham, which is currently 4-12.
There’s a strong likelihood that they’ll end up somewhere in the middle. The big prize is staying out of the bottom four, which have to play an opening-round game in the A-10 Tournament in Washington, D.C. next week.
A Duquesne squad that doesn’t exactly roll deep winning three games in three days against higher seeds seems unlikely as it is. Adding a fourth would make any hope of a tourney upset almost impossible. One win over the next two games would do the trick to keep Duquesne out of the opening round.
But all of that of getting a bit ahead of the issue at hand.
The last time Duquesne played St. Louis, the Dukes got ran out of the gym by a tougher, deeper, more experienced St. Louis team. Maybe more than any tournament repercussions, coming out and proving that the first time out against the Billikens was a fluke is the objective of Dambrot’s squad this week. “They’re a very physical team, and to be completely honest, they punked us in St. Louis,” sophomore guard Mike Lewis II said.
Check out more from Dambrot and Lewis as the Dukes enter the vital stretch run of the 2017-18 season.