I was sort of awestruck by Devin Oliver’s comments immediately after the win over La Salle on Wednesday night.
Dayton senior Devin Oliver admitted after a 65-53 victory over La Salle on Wednesday at UD Arena he doesn’t look at the standings. Once flirting with last place, the Flyers now find themselves in contention for one of the top four seeds in the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Now, I have no idea why a team in the middle of the pack of a mid-major conference would be “looking ahead,” that’s a different discussion altogether, but does the fact that Oliver claimed not to know where UD stood in the standings indicate anything? Is it a case of just taking it game by game and not worrying about where the chips are falling? Did Oliver want to ignore the realty of his senior season going up in flames? Why do I care about this?
Regardless, if there was a game for Devin Oliver to look past it takes place this weekend in Pittsburgh, where the Flyers visit the Duquesne Dukes. They are turrible.
Jim Ferry’s team couldn’t do any worse than they did last season. After going 8-22 overall, 1-15 in league play, Duquesne has already eclipsed both those marks this season. Coming into the game with a 3-9 conference mark, the Dukes are attempting to push the pace offensively and forget about playing defense. Nine scholarship players are gone from last year’s team, only three players on scholarship returned to this year’s team.
The Dukes are 0-6 against Top 50 RPI teams, with only one win over a Top 100 club (Saint Bonaventure). A loss to Duquesne would look absolutely horrible on UD’s resume come mid-March. And I obviously mean that with all due respect to our friends in Pittsburgh.
Meet and Greet
Ovie Soko (18.2 ppg/8.0 rpg), a native Brit, is the best player in the Atlantic Ten that you’ve refused to pay attention to. The 6’8″ transfer from UAB is very athletic and will be a matchup-issue for the Flyers. Soko is very active inside and gets to the foul-line on the reg. He is currently tied for third nationally in total free throw attempts with 244 and his 9.76 FTAs/game are on school record pace. Unless the Dukes run into UD in the A10 Tournament, this will the last time Flyer fans will see of Soko, as he is a senior in his final year of eligibility. How does Jim Ferry sleep at night?
Derrick Colter (9.6 ppg/3.4 apg/2.4 rpg) had an excellent freshman season, named to the league’s All-Rookie team, and returns as the Dukes’ starting point-guard. Colter is the Dukes’ best defensive player, and is capable of creating offense off the dribble. Micha Mason joins Colter in the backcourt and is one of the best three-point shooters in the nation (57.4%). The sophomore guard has the highest offensive efficiency rating in the nation according to KenPom.com.
Dominique McKoy (9.9 ppg/7.2 rpg) and Jeremiah Jones (7.0 ppg/3.4 rpg) round out the Dukes frontcourt. McKoy is shooting a team-high 63% from the floor and has had 6 or more rebounds in 21 of 25 games. Duquesne’s SI department informs us that Jones has played in all 55 of his games at Duquesne. That’s a resume builder.
This is Duquesne’s third game this season at the CONSOL Energy Center. Dukes are 0-2 there, with losses to Pitt and Penn State — it’s not exactly an intimidating venue for visitors. In fact, it’s an arena that UD fans usually populates with a good smattering of sweater-vests. Flyers win, 81-74, pushing their record to 19-8 (7-5).