Usually when a team starts the season with a 9-0 record, they will find themselves ranked. But for the Duquesne Dukes, they found themselves with just one vote in the AP Poll when it came out this past Monday. And while it could be debated whether or not this team deserves to be in the top 25, the more relevant question is what should we make of this team as a whole?
Recently, the Dukes have not just been winning contests, but they have been doing so emphatically, averaging a margin of victory of 22.5 points over their past 4 games. Of course, the competition may not be the best of the best, but what Duquesne is doing in these games certainly deserves acknowledgment. On top of this, it is important to remember that while their home court is under construction, Duquesne has found themselves having to play at three different locations for home games this season.
But based on the results so far, this has not seemed to be much of an issue, as they are currently 5-0 in their home games this season. Yet ironically, this lack of a true home court has seemed to bring this Dukes team closer together, and the stats are there to back it up.
Currently Duquesne has six guys averaging between 9 and 12 points per game so far this season, and it reiterates how well-rounded this squad has been. As a matter of fact, through 9 games the Dukes have had six different players lead the team in scoring. And looking at the rest of their non-conference schedule, it is very possible that Duquesne will head into A-10 play undefeated, and if so, has a chance to creep into the top 25.
But again, there are many questions that this team still needs to answer. They have yet to play a true road game this season, and will not do so until January 8th, when they travel to face Saint Joseph’s. They will also go through their non-conference slate without playing against a Power 5 school, which again raises some questions as to the strength of their record.
With the exception of Baylee Steele, the core of this Duquesne team has eligibility past this season, which is definitely something fans can get excited about. Freshman Maceo Austin has been an incredible bright spot as well. Keith Dambrot is doing and has done a terrific job building this program so far in his time with the Dukes. Regardless of competition and other factors, a 9-0 record is certainly something to be proud of.
So as we move forward and look ahead towards the rest of this season, it will be interesting to see how the Dukes pan out. No matter the outcome, Duquesne fans definitely have reason to be excited for the direction that this program is heading. But for now, it is just important for this team to take it game by game, and continue to give the doubters something to think about.