Duquesne will host games against Penn State and Marshall and visit Notre Dame in addition to the annual City Game with Pitt in the 2018-19 season, Pittsburgh Sports Now has learned.
The Dukes will play host to Penn State in a game at PPG Paints Arena, while Marshall will visit A.J. Palumbo Center. The dates of the games have not yet been announced.
Notre Dame went 21-15 in 2017-18, just missing an NCAA Tournament bid. They’ll be without graduating stars Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, but T.J. Gibbs, Jr. and Rex Pflueger should give the Irish a dangerous backcourt in 2018-19. Notre Dame finished No. 32 in KenPom.com adjusted offense ranking. Duquesne hasn’t played Notre Dame since 1995, but is 5-2 all-time against the Irish.
Penn State is coming off a 26-13 season in which the Nittany Lions won the Postseason NIT and they will return second-leading scorer Lamar Stevens from that team. The Lions finished the year as the No. 19 overall team in KenPom.com’s rankings. The Dukes are 19-26 overall against the Lions, with the last game an 82-74 loss in State College. The teams played every year from 2010 to 2016.
The game with the Lions will also feature a homecoming of sorts, as former Duquesne head coach Jim Ferry is an assistant at Penn State.
Marshall just made the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 1987 under head coach Dan D’Antoni. The Conference USA-leading Thundering Herd finished 2017-18 with a 25-11 record and as the No. 105 overall team according to KenPom.com. Duquesne has played Marshall four times and is 3-1 against the Herd, but the last time the teams met was in 1978.
During the 2017-18 season, Pitt was the only high-major opponent the Dukes played as Duquesne had the No. 350 (out of 351 teams) non-conference strength of schedule.
That weak early-season schedule allowed the Dukes to rattle off seven straight wins at one point and finish the non-conference portion of their schedule 9-5.
It appears that second-year head coach Keith Dambrot has set his sights higher in 2018-19, scheduling the kind of non-conference opponents that would allow Duquesne to build a resume for an NCAA Tournament bid.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Marshall’s conference affiliation. They are in Conference USA, not the Mid-American Conference.