Duquesne will play host to four Atlantic 10 heavyweights this year when Xavier, Saint Louis, St. Bonaventure and Virginia Commonwealth visit Pittsburgh to take on coach Jim Ferry's young basketball team.
The Atlantic 10 released its schedule Thursday, and it includes two conference home games for the Dukes at Consol Energy Center -- VCU Jan. 19 and Xavier Feb. 9.
"It's obviously a very challenging schedule. There's not going to be anywhere to run and hide," said Ferry.
"It's just a great league from top to bottom. There's never going to be a night off, whether you're home or on the road."
Duquesne went 16-15 overall and 7-9 in the conference last season before making a coaching change.
By most accounts, the upcoming season will be a difficult one no matter how the schedule shakes out.
The team will open the conference season Jan. 9 at Fordham, then return home Jan. 12 to face Saint Joseph's.
The schedule also will include four televised games -- at Massachusetts Jan. 17, at Dayton Jan. 26, at St. Bonaventure Feb. 2 and Xavier at home Feb. 9 on a CBS Sports Network regional channel.
Among the road highlights is a trip to Indianapolis to face Butler, the league's other new member, Feb. 19.
The toughest part of the schedule appears to be a three-week stretch from Jan. 26 to Feb. 14 when the Dukes must visit Dayton (Jan. 26), St. Bonaventure (Feb. 2) and Temple (Feb. 14) squeezed around three home games that include Xavier.
"With the 16 teams, playing everyone once, it's challenging," said Ferry. "That's what this league has become.
"It's one of the best conferences in college basketball. I think everyone is going to get better. You've got to play everybody. 'The focus is going to continue to be to get better every day."duquesnesports