DU Men’s Hoops finalizes challenging 2017-18 schedule

Denver men’s hoops announced their schedule today and it promises some big challenges for the Pioneers as Rodney Billups moves into year two of his tenure as head coach. The team has scheduled 28 games, fewer than normal due to IUPUI’s hasty exit from the Summit League.

The early highlights include a trip to Boulder to renew the DU-CU basketball rivalry. The 3-game Florida Gulf Coast Shootout in Fort Meyers against FGCU, St. Francis, and Navy over three days will give DU fans a quick read on this year’s squad. Then, there will be some great regional action with a pair of games at Magness Arena against Air Force and Wyoming along with an always challenging bus trip to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Then, in mid-December, the Pioneers board a quick flight to Palo Alto to take on the Pac-12’s Stanford Cardinal.

Denver’s first Summit League game is against a tough South Dakota team in Vermillion, S.D. on 12/30/17. The Pioneers have 5 of their first 6 games on the road so Denver will have to use their non-conference schedule to jell and gain confidence. League play ends with 4 out of 5 games at Magness arena.

The 2017-2018 hoops schedule looks like this:

Date Opponent / Event Arena Time / Result Media
11/12/17 vs.UC Irvine UC Irvine Denver, Colo. 4:00 p.m. MT MORE
11/14/17 atColorado Colorado Boulder, Colo. TBA MORE
11/16/17 vs.Johnson & Wales Johnson & Wales Denver, Colo. 5:00 p.m. MT MORE
Homewood Suites FGCU Shootout
11/24/17 atFlorida Gulf Coast Florida Gulf Coast Fort Myers, Fla. 5:00 p.m. MT MORE
11/25/17 vs.St. Francis Brooklyn St. Francis Brooklyn Fort Myers, Fla. 2:00 p.m. MT MORE
11/26/17 vs.Navy Navy Fort Myers, Fla. 10:00 a.m. MT MORE
11/29/17 vs.Wyoming Wyoming Denver, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
12/02/17 vs.Air Force Air Force Denver, Colo. 1:00 p.m. MT MORE
12/05/17 vs.San Jose State San Jose State Denver, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
12/09/17 vs.USC Upstate USC Upstate Denver, Colo. 1:00 p.m. MT MORE
12/13/17 atNorthern Colorado Northern Colorado Greeley, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
12/15/17 atStanford Stanford Palo Alto, Calif. TBA MORE
12/18/17 atMontana State Montana State Bozeman, Mont. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
12/28/17 vs.Colorado Mesa Colorado Mesa Denver, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
12/30/17 atSouth Dakota South Dakota * Vermillion, S.D. TBA MORE
01/06/18 vs.Fort Wayne Fort Wayne * Denver, Colo. 1:00 p.m. MT MORE
01/11/18 atNorth Dakota State North Dakota State * Fargo, N.D. 6:00 p.m. MT MORE
01/13/18 atSouth Dakota St. South Dakota St. * Brookings, S.D. 1:00 p.m. MT MORE
01/18/18 atOmaha Omaha * Omaha, Neb. 6:30 p.m. MT MORE
01/20/18 atOral Roberts Oral Roberts * Tulsa, Okla. 6:00 p.m. MT MORE
01/25/18 vs.Western Illinois Western Illinois * Denver, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
01/27/18 vs.South Dakota South Dakota * Denver, Colo. 4:00 p.m. MT MORE
02/03/18 atFort Wayne Fort Wayne * Fort Wayne, Ind. 12:00 p.m. MT MORE
02/08/18 vs.South Dakota St. South Dakota St. * Denver, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
02/10/18 vs.North Dakota State North Dakota State * Denver, Colo. 1:00 p.m. MT MORE
02/14/18 vs.Oral Roberts Oral Roberts * Denver, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MT MORE
02/18/18 vs.Omaha Omaha * Denver, Colo. 1:00 p.m. MT MORE
02/24/18 atWestern Illinois Western Illinois * Macomb, Ill. TBA MOR

The 6 week winter break starts mid-November and classes resume January 3rd. During that time, five games will be played at Magness Arena (Wyoming, Air Force, San Jose State, USC Upstate and Mesa State) and six games on the road.

As usual, the Summit League conference championships will be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

20 thoughts on “DU Men’s Hoops finalizes challenging 2017-18 schedule”

  1. This schedule is not the best, as having to backfill with D-II teams like Johnson & Wales and Colorado Mesa is a bummer. We can blame IUPUI for leaving the Summit on short notice for some of that backfilling. Playing D-II teams is dreadful – if you lose to one, it’s bad publicity, and if you win, it doesn’t even count in the RPI. I can remember DU getting blown out by Colorado Christian some years ago when the Pios played some games in Hamilton Gym..Ugly, indeed.

    The only truly attractive non-league home games from a gate standpoint are Wyoming and Air Force. Since DU is on winter break from Thanksgiving until after New Years, 5 of the 7 non league games (except for UCI and Johnson and Wales) are held while the students are out of Denver for the extended break. This will always be our burden under the quarter system we have. Wyoming will likely have more fans for the Cowboys at Magness than DU will, unless DU gets some group turnouts to offset the Cowpoke fans.

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    1. Correction made on the student break. Not unusual to play smaller schools. Last year, CU played Ft. Hayes and Wofford. CSU is playing Colorado Mesa and Winthrop. Kansas plays Washburn University annually. Likely, IUPUI hurt but the Pioneers will have to take care of business when they ‘play down’.

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      1. W & W are low D-1. I can find plenty of other examples of D1 v D2 in non-conference play. This is true for mid-majors and power conference teams. Wyoming is playing New Mexico Highland and Regis – so replace Wofford and Winthrop. Frankly, no difference.

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  2. The undergrad and most grad students are always gone from Thanksgiving to after New Years every year, while the University staff have a shorter holiday breaks, and the Law School runs on a more traditional semester system.

    Often times, those D-II games are scheduled as pre-season exhibitions, played at the beginning of the year. DU has historically chosen not to play them, but rather have closed-door scrimmages against D-I opponents instead.

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  3. Interesting how Summit didn’t go to true road partners with even number of teams. Granted, time constraints in scheduling on short notice and some awkward geographical alliances don’t make it easy.

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  4. Interesting. Winthrop has been to NINE NCAA tournaments since 1999, including a first round win over Notre Dame in 2007. Wofford has been to Four NCAA D-I tournaments since 2010. They are both far more accomplished basketball programs than DU is at the D-I level.

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  5. Yeah, when I first saw that schedule I didn’t realize they had two non-DI teams on there, that’s ugly. I’m sure they only did it because they had to, but it stinks. Gives fans less of a reason to buy season tickets also, since two of the games are essentially exhibitions. (that to me is the most frustrating thing, the DI teams count the stats as an official game but the non-DI schools treat it as an exhibition, it’s not even consistent)

    On a positive note, it’s nice to have Wyoming and Air Force coming and I’m intrigued by the visit to Stanford. Looking at who they have returning it will be a big challenge for DU, but also a good measuring stick for where they are as conference season approaches.

    The game at Colorado is fantastic, a weekend would have been better than a Tuesday night for travel purposes, but I’m planning on going for sure, it’s a quick drive and I love that the Coors Events Center has free parking close by.

    I am somewhat concerned by that league schedule though… starting the season @USD, vs IPFW, @NDSU, @SDSU, @Omaha… I can be kind of a pessimist sometimes, but geez, that could be an ugly start. Those are the five teams that finished tied with or above Denver in the standings last year and four are on the road. It’s easy to play out nightmare scenarios when you start looking at that…

    Random aside: would have been fun to play UC Irvine when they had that 7’6″ center, I think they are rather uninteresting this year other than their Anteater nickname.

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      1. Cool! I didn’t even think to look if they had played them back when he was on the team, and even funnier about Chuck Webb.

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  6. My point was about ‘smaller schools’. I doubt Wofford or Winthrop would draw better than most D2 schools in Denver. No disrespect, but most casual fans know little or nothing about either of these programs – despite their obvious success. But, I hope DU treats the game in Boulder like an extra ‘home game’ and arranges buses and events to get folks there.

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    1. Tim is right about Winthrop and Wofford not drawing in Denver. Since most Power 5 conference schools won’t come to play us in Denver, DU needs to try to get other non-league name brands schools to play here that people recognize. Since Wyoming and Air Force are already in rotation (and CU and CSU won’t come here), I would start trying to get more schools that DU has a regional history with, such as New Mexico, New Mexico State and Utah State. Then try to bring in name brand peer privates that might actually come here such as SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, Rice, Drake, Bradley, Ivies, Patriot league teams and WCC schools, etc.

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  7. One positive thing that could result from the non-DI teams: If Denver were to win the conference tournament they would have a better RPI by playing the non-DI teams (since it doesn’t count at all) then they would if they had played, say Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Coppin State in those two games, since those really really bad DI teams just kill your RPI.

    I think that was part of the strategy the MWC was using to game the RPI, along with trying to play the best teams from really poor leagues who would rack up lots of wins.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So it looks like those two DII games will be played in Hamilton Gymnasium this year. I don’t know anything about the gym or the reasoning behind it – anyone have any thoughts?

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    1. They just redid Hamilton. New seats, scoreboard, etc…Seats 2000 and hosts women’s volleyball, women’s hoops this year and gymnastics. If they expect less than 2000 spectators, this is a good option. Also, they do not have the expense of converting the ice hockey arena to bball. Hamilton is situated on the West side of the Ritchie Center.

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    1. He left during the summer. Redshirt Donovan Carlisle from Indiana was a top 15 Indiana prep PF. He is 6’8” and 210 lbs.. and joined the team. He should be an upgrade defensively. In my opinion, Donovan and guard Elvin Rodriquez will cover the points lost with the departure of Bobbitt.

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      1. No…we did not do an article on it. Probably should have done one but it happened during a dead period during the summer.

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