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The Panthers play in a beast of a conference, on national television and are contenders for a national championship every year under Jamie Dixon. They also wallop the Dukes every season in The City Game _ Pitt has beaten Duquesne 10 consecutive times, while winning 29 of the last 32.

Take a look across the state, where Temple, an A-10 program, regularly competes hard, and does defeat, Big East rival Villanova, from time to time. The Dukes aren’t there yet, with regards to the Panthers. In fact, Duquesne has a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to the rivalry.

“I think sometimes our fans feel that way,” Amodio said. “They really want to see Duquesne beat Pitt. There’s almost a local validity to that.”

For the players, though, they think little about the Panthers unless they’re on the scouting report.

“I really don’t feel we’re shadowing them. We’ve got a different style of basketball,” Clark said. “We’re not even in the same category as them.”

And they’ll play the biggest basketball game in the city _ and around the program in nearly four decades _ this weekend. Not Pitt.

And maybe they’ll play meaningful games in April, too, if they hear their name called on NCAA tournament selection day.

“I haven’t even talked about it,” Everhart said. “I think it takes away from us keeping an edge, staying on the side of being an underdog, having something to prove. If my guys, or any of us, start hearing that or feel a degree of complacency and satisfaction about what’s already happened, then we don’t have that hunger going forward we need to hopefully get there.”

As sizzling a start as they’ve had, the Dukes will have to play nearly flawless down the stretch and likely have to win the A-10 tourney in Atlantic City to reach the NCAA tournament.

But they can dream about the postseason later.

After Sunday, they’ll be thrilled just being called the best in the A-10.