Yesterday, the University of Denver Men’s Basketball team released its non-conference schedule for the 2016-17 season. With this being head coach Rodney Billups’ first season on the sideline for the Pioneers, there was much anticipation for what kind of opponents he would land.
While there were a few rumors flying around that Wichita State and/or Memphis might make a featured appearance on the Pios’ schedule, those rumors proved to be unfounded. However, in their absence, Billups and his staff were still able to put together a rather formidable non-conference schedule.
Here are all of DU’s non-Summit League opponents this year:
Aside from the normal Air Force, Wyoming, and Northern Colorado, there are a few other key opponents on this part of the schedule that should give DU fans a very good sense of what the 2016-17 squad is going to look like.
The one matchup that immediately jumps out is the December 7 matchup against defending SEC regular season champion Texas A&M in College Station. In 2015-16, after losing to Kentucky in overtime in the SEC Tournament Finals, the Aggies made a run to the Sweet 16 where they lost to Buddy Hield and Oklahoma, 77-63.
At least at the moment, it would appear that DU has “no shot” at pulling off the upset against A&M, but hey, you never know. Weirder things have happened in the sport.
After the Texas A&M game, the next “best” opponent on the schedule is Wyoming. UW has been a fairly formidable member of the surprisingly good Mountain West Conference for a few years now. Traveling to Laramie is never an easy task, so the Pios will have their hands full against the Cowboys, but it should be a winnable game.
There are a number of absolutely winnable games on the Pioneers’ non-conference schedule, but the first couple months of the season will present a significant challenge to a team with a first-year head coach.
As the season draws nearer, be sure to check back with LetsGoDU as we will preview the season and put together a prediction for Rodney Billups’ first year.