Duquesne vs Pittsburgh ‘The City-Game’ Preview and Prediction
Duquesne vs Pittsburgh Preview
The Pittsburgh Panthers (6-1) square off against their in-state rival, Duquesne (4-1), for the 87th time tonight at PPG Paints Arena.
In a series that dates back to Jan. 13, 1932, Pitt holds a considerable advantage 54-32–but this Dukes team is not to be taken lightly.
Pitt has won 18 of the past 20 meetings in the City Game against Duquesne. The Panthers have posted double-digit wins in 15 of their 18 victories in that stretch.
Duquesne, which snapped a 15-game series losing streak against the Panthers with a 64-55 win on Dec. 2, 2016, will be looking to win two of three in the series for the first time since 1982 when Mike Rice‘s Dukes defeated the Panthers on Feb. 15, 1981 & Jan. 14, 1982.
The Dukes, who opened by going 3-1 in the Gotham Classic, added an 83-71 win over UMass Lowell on Sunday.
Duquesne’s three Gotham Classic wins came over opponents who averaged 20.7 wins last season: William & Mary (19-12), UIC (20-16, CIT) & Radford (23-13, NCAA). The Dukes led at Notre Dame (21-15, NIT last year) 52-51 with 6:31 left in their fourth Gotham Classic game.
Radford is a team we have covered closely here at MFST–that was a solid win for the Dukes.
Five players have either led or tied for the team lead in scoring in DU’s first five games. Led by freshman Sincere Carry‘s 33 dishes, the team is averaging 15.6 assists per game. DU averaged 11.9 apg. last season. Carry began the week ranked 7th nationally by Kenpom.com in assist rate.
Eric Williams Jr., who has a pair of double-doubles this season (18-11 vs, UIC and 14-10 vs. Radford), has led the Dukes in rebounding in four of five games. He is coming off a season-high 22-point outing vs. UMass Lowell.
The Dukes have seven freshmen and five sophomores on the 2018-19 roster. Of the 11 newcomers, 10 have seen action so far this season. Only two Dukes (Mike Lewis II and Eric Williams Jr.) have seen action in a City Game. Forward Kellon Taylor, who played in last year’s game, is still with the football team for their second round FCS Playoff game at South Dakota State on Saturday.
Duquesne isn’t the only team to go through roster turnover. Pittsburgh is in the exact same boat.
Four of Pitt’s top five scorers are first-year players for the Panthers. Newcomers account for 65.1 percent (363-of-558) of the teams scoring with 20 double-figure scoring games.
Led by freshman Xavier Johnson, who has secured seven double-digit scoring efforts on the young season. Johnson is the first Pitt freshman to score in double figures in the first seven games of the season.
The Panthers have five players averaging 9.0 points per game or better and have one of the best sixth-men in the nation. Jared Wilson-Frame is the second leading scorer off the bench in the ACC at 14.5 points per game. He has made four or more three-point field goals and scored 20 or more points in three of six contests he has played this season. Wilson-Frame has been the first Panther off the bench in all six contests he has played.
Pitt has started three freshmen – Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens and Au’Diese Toney – in each of the first seven games of the season. The trio is averaging 35.9 points, 13.7 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. They have combined for 14 double-figure scoring games, while shooting 79-of-171 (.462) from the field and 77-of-94 (.819) from the foul line on the season.
LINE: -5 Pittsburgh
Both programs are going through some roster turnover but for the better. Pitt has been at the bottom of the ACC for the last few years, but with the talent they are recruiting, they should see an increase in wins the next few years.
Duquesne is going to compete in the A-10 this season and they are putting together a solid non-conference slate.
The line in this game feels right despite believing in both teams to pull off the victory. I’ll go with Goliath instead of David tonight.
Pittsburgh 70 Duquesne 66