Don’t overlook Duquesne as a serious A-10 contender

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Duquesne’s win Saturday against Temple – the three-time defending A-10 tourney champs — gave the program a small feather for its cap. The Dukes have progressed nicely during Ron Everhart’s five-year tenure, but hadn’t notched many marquee wins outside of a win over Xavier in 2008-09. The Owls had beaten ‘em 15 out of 17 times.

(In fact, this wasn’t that long ago, either.)

But now, they’re 11-5 overall, 3-0 in league play and are tied with Xavier and George Washington atop the league.

“It was a great win for our program and a great win for our kids,” Everhart said afterward. “They as a group had talked about this game for a long time.

That W won’t go down as a fluke, either.

The Dukes are 43rd in kenpom.com’s ratings, behind only Temple among A-10 schools. More telling, their conference efficiency margin is damn impressive, as John Gasaway notes in his weekly Tuesday Truths column.

Duquesne is outscoring opponents by .22 points per possession, behind only Xavier’s .33. The defense – as the Dukes will tell you – is the reason why, too. Foes score only .86 points per possession vs. Duquesne.

The schedule’s lined up for a favorable finish, too. Only trips to Xavier, Dayton and Richmond loom as major obstacles. Trips to La Salle, Fordham and UMass? That’ll help Everhart’s crew.

As for the rest of Gasaway’s Tuesday Truths, there’s plenty to be gleaned, including interesting notes from the Mountain West, Horizon and Missouri Valley. Are you sure you know who’s good?

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.