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Wednesday NCAA basketball: Duquesne at No. 16 Arizona

The Arizona Wildcats were the first ranked team to take the floor in the 2011-12 NCAA basketball season and AU will very quickly be the first team to play a second game, coming Wednesday night at home vs. a solid Duquesne club making its season debut. Bet on the game at WagerWeb.com.

No. 16 Arizona didn’t look all that good in Monday’s 73-64 victory over Valparaiso. Arizona had some jittery moments in the first half before running away behind its defense in the second. The Wildcats held Valparaiso without a field goal during an opening 16-3 run, with Jordin Mayes scoring eight points to put Arizona up 15. Jesse Perry finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Nick Johnson had 14 points and six assists for the Wildcats.

Valpo wasn’t very good last year and has now lost 34 straight to Top 25 teams since coach Bryce Drew beat Mississippi with a buzzer beater in the 1998 NCAA tournament. So AU might be ripe for an upset here.

Duquesne, meanwhile, won’t have one of its expected rotation players tonight. That would be 7-foot-1 Radford transfer Martins Abele. The Dukes were worried he would have to sit out this who season, per NCAA transfer rules, but last week they learned that the NCAA waived the normal transfer requirement due to circumstances involving infractions at Radford. However, that 290-pound center will have to sit out the first four games for “impermissible participation in summer league games” prior to transferring, which will delay his regular-season debut until Nov. 20 vs. Valparaiso.

Still, adding Abele’s size to the lineup this season is a big deal for the Dukes, which need to find a way to replace forward Damian Saunders’ production. Saunders averaged 12.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks last season, and became the first player in NCAA history with more than 250 career assists, steals and blocks. Abele will also help take some pressure off of 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman Derrick Martin to be the team’s main interior presence and shot blocker.

Sixth-year head coach Ron Everhart will rely on three returning starters and a group of talented newcomers in an attempt to post his fifth-straight non-losing season at DU. Back are senior forward B.J. Monteiro (808 career points) and sophomore guard T.J. McConnell (2011 ECAC and Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year). Sophomore Mike Talley joined Monteiro and McConnell as a starter last season. Duquesne led the nation in three statistical categories last season: assists (17.8 apg.), steals (9.9 spg.) and turnover margin (+6.7). The Dukes return 69 percent of their assists and 58.7 percent of their steals from a year ago.

This is the first time since 2002-03 and 11th time in school history that the Dukes are opening on the road (4-6 overall). Duquesne leads the series 3-1. This will be DU’s first trip to Tucson as the first three meetings – all Duquesne wins – were at Pittsburgh. It will be the first game between the two since a 133-78 Arizona win in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 27, 1987. DU’s last road win over a ranked team was on Jan. 25, 1997 at Xavier (lost their last 16 road games at ranked teams). by WagerWeb

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Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 2011-previews-picks, College Basketball Betting

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