The Duquesne Dukes will be looking to rebound from an season opening 76-66 loss to Arkansas Little-Rock and earn their first win of the season tonight as they take on UNC Greensboro.
Tipoff tonight from the Yum Center in Louisville will take place at 6 p.m. with oddsmaker making UNC Greensboro a 1.5 point favorite for the game.
UNC Greensboro enters tonight with a record of 1-1, having beaten Arkansas Little Rock, 77-70 and losing last night to Winthrop, 75-67. Through two games, the Spartans leading scorer has been Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year pick guard Isaiah Miller (21.5 points/game) and center Hayden Koval (15.5 points/game).
Tonight’s game obviously won’t be easy as UNC Greensboro is a good mid-major program that was picked to win the Southern Conference in the preseason coaches poll. They enter tonight’s game ranked #91 in the KenPom Ratings while Duquesne sits at #88. Last season, UNC Greensboro (23-9) finished #92 while Duquesne was #95.
Things will also be difficult as Keith Dambrot is likely going to be without starting sophomore guard Maceo Austin, who is battling the flu. He’s not been ruled out yet but is questionable and will be replaced in the starting lineup by senior guard Tavian Dunn-Martin.
If Austin is unable to go, that will mean more important minutes for true freshman Chad Baker, Tyson Acuff and Toby Okani. In their first college game, Baker played scored four points in seven minutes, Acuff two points in two minutes and Okani recorded two rebounds and one assist in six minutes of action.
It’ll be interesting to see if Dambrot makes a change in his starting lineup and go with Mike Hughes from the start instead of bringing him off the bench. Against Little-Rock, Hughes finished with seven points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes, while Austin Rotroff finished with two points and two rebounds in 11 minutes of action.
Two big keys tonight for the Dukes will be doing a better job rebounding, both offensively and defensively. In the loss to Little-Rock, Duquesne was outrebounded 36-32, that must change. Duquesne also needs to get the ball in the paint to their top two big mean, Hughes and Marcus Weathers. Those two guys need more touches, as Hughes only attempted five shots, while Weathers had 10. Duquesne was dominated in the paint by Little-Rock, getting outscored 46-24.