Men’s Hoops Schedule (Finally) Released

The suspense around DU’s 2018-2019 schedule has been delayed pending agreements with two final opponents and working out final scheduling details. Well, the wait is over and, while the home schedule may not wow you, Rodney Billups and company are facing a tough road. And that is exactly what they need with a roster of 50% newcomers to jell for a run at the end of the season.

This off-season features five solid incoming freshman recruits to bolster graduating losses. Then, this summer DU received the benefit of two outstanding graduate transfers, Tory Miller-Stewart and Ronnie Harrell from the University of Colorado and Creighton respectively. And, let’s just say their schedule will be a gauntlet, especially on the road.

Senior Transfers
Miller-Stewart and Harrell will join Joe Rosga as DU’s only ‘seniors’ this upcoming season.

Regardless of the regular season schedule, at the end of the day, this season will be measured by three games at the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The ultimate question, can this crew make it to the NCAA tournament and make school history? And, with a pre-conference schedule filled with challenges, the Pioneers will know what it is like to face a hostile environments and battle long odds.

The Pioneers non-conference road schedule is shown below with key games shown in RED:

Maine – November 6th, Magness Arena

Kansas State – November 12,  Manhattan, Ks.

Abiline Christian – November 15th, Magness Arena

Seattle University – November 23rd, Seattle, WA. (MTE Tournament)

Longwood – November 24th, Seattle, WA (MTE Tournament)

Fairfield – November 25th, Seattle, WA (MTE Tournament) 

Northern Colorado – November 28th, Magness Arena

Utah Valley – December 1st, Orem, Utah

Air Force – December 5th, Colorado Springs, Co.

Western State – December 9th, Magness Arena

Wyoming  – December 11,  Laramie, Wyoming

Cal-Irvine – December 15th, Irvine, California

Montana State – December 18th, Magness Arena

Gonzaga – December 21st, Spokane, WA.

Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan is nicknamed the “Octagon of Doom”. K-State is a Top 3 Big 12 team heading into next season. Air Force is always difficult to play, especially early in the season on their home court in Colorado Springs. A trek to Seattle over Thanksgiving will provide a good road tournament test for the Pioneers. Laramie is always a tough place to play against the Pokes. And, finally, Gonzaga has become THE mid-major power in men’s basketball and resides on a perennial Top 10 perch in men’s basketball.

Kansas State
Kansas State’s Bramlage  Colosseum may not be this full for the Pioneers but expect a great basketball environment to test the new-look Pioneers.

The Summit League Schedule is as follows:

December 28th  @ Omaha

December 30th @ Western Illinois

January 2nd South Dakota @ Denver

January 5th North Dakota @ Denver

January 10th @ South Dakota State

January 16th North Dakota State @ Denver

January 20th Oral Roberts @ Denver

January 26th @ Fort Wayne

February 3rd South Dakota State @ Denver

February 7th @ Oral Roberts

February 9th @ North Dakota State

February 14th Fort Wayne @ Denver

February 20th @ South Dakota

February 23rd @ North Dakota

February 28th Western Illinois @ Denver

March 2nd Omaha @ Denver

At the end of their regular season campaign, Denver hoops may be battle tested for a deep run. And, for the first time in years, a path just might open up for this year’s Pioneers.

No season in recent memory has started with such intrigue and possibilities.

29 thoughts on “Men’s Hoops Schedule (Finally) Released”

  1. To be honest, we are counting mightily on the 2 senior transfers to be difference makers. Miller-Stewart has monstrous size and strength like we’ve rarely had. Harrell was going to be the go to guy at Creighton and can hopefully light it up for us. Rogna will be good. We don’t need 5 stars. If the other players can perform at a decent level, just maybe we have a special year. Hopefully students turn out and increase the difficulty of playing at Magness.


  2. This schedule may be great preparation for the Summit League season, but it is a very disappointing non-league schedule from a home fan perspective in Denver. We’re living in an era where many mid majors have a very hard time getting home non-league games. Northern Colorado is the only winning non-league team to come to Magness this season, coming off a 26-win season and CIT championship and even the Bears are not likely to generate much interest in Denver.

    The rest of the non-league visitors are losers. Maine is dreadful in basketball, going 6-26 last year before then-AD Karlton Creech fired the coach and gave the job to his women’s coach. Abilene Christian was a .500 team in the Southland last year – yuck. Western State (really?) was 13-16 in D-II. And Montana State hasn’t won a conference tournament game in 8 years now, finishing 13-18 last year.

    I hope the boys win a lot of games this year, since we can’t count on interesting home non-league opponents, as these bad home schedules seem to be a yearly thing now…At least Joe Scott brought in some pretty good non-league teams into Magness from time to time – Stanford, Cal, Iona, St. Joseph’s, CSU, Belmont, St.Mary’s, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Actually, DU has had only one losing hoops season in the last seven years, with well over 110 D-I wins in that span alone. It’s a respectable D-I program…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty disappointing home non conference schedule…. but you have to like the Pios going out and playing K State and Gonzaga on the road!!! Any word on JaVonni Bickham still joining the Pios this year… Or could he be a possibility to join the team for the 2019-2020 season?


  4. Is there a way to get that horizontal calendar hidden or off the athletics’ web site? I’m trying to look at the schedule and the men’s lacrosse roster and the schedule takes up 25%(?) of the screen. This is site is one of the worst looking college one out there.


  5. Swami is an average RPI over the last 4 years of 215 “respectable”? That’s bottom half and the farthest they went one year was semifinals of the conference tournament. It’s a joke, not respectable.

    I see Athletics promoted internally for their two areas that are severely lacking. Nice job Boner Macneil

    Keep drinking the kool-aid losers


    1. Any season where you win more than you lose is respectable, at least in my book. Would I like DU to win more, schedule better and play in the post season? Yes, of course I would. But I also am a realist.

      DU’s $3 million-ish hoops budget is a small fraction of what the power teams spend in hoops, so you can’t expect them to be top 50-100 team when they don’t spend at anywhere near that kind of level. DU’s hockey and lacrosse teams are top 5 teams because DU’s budgets are at the very top level of those sports, so it’s really not an apples to apples comparison.

      Additionally, DU is in a terrible area for HS hoops recruiting and there is very little basketball tradition in this area. For DU to excel at basketball, they will need to do more with less…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, Mr. Someone. I never post under anything but 5BWest. You just need to quit being paranoid and realize everyone does dislike you.


  6. Nope, I am not 5B, but thanks anyway.

    Also—did I read correctly that Joe Howe is leaving DU? That’s what you get for hiring a CC person. Can we please bring in Mannino? I mean, Howe may have been OK, but but he is only 20-30% of Mannino.


  7. Mannino is now associate head coach at Miami, which is likely a six figure job, likely in the top 20-30 of assistant coaches nationally, and is likely better paid that any of DU’s current assistant coaches, as DU does not currently have an associate head coach in hockey. Steve Miller did play that role with Gwozdecky, but Monty and Carle don’t have this role on their staffs.

    A Director of Operations position is largely a low-low pay, five figure job that primarily does video and logistics work, assists the other bench coaches from the press box on game nights, and does NOT coach on the ice during the season. The Ops Dir. pay is almost always lower than the full time assistant coaches, except for graduate assistants or volunteer assistants.

    As for Howe, I am very happy for him. He got himself a promotion to assistant coach by moving on, and I am sure DU’s coaches are happy for him too. That’s what you do in coaching – keep getting yourself better jobs, either by getting promoted from within or by moving on to better positions at other schools. Howe started as a volunteer assistant at DU, paid his dues and got promoted to DU’s Ops Director then gets an assistant job somewhere else in the span of 2-3 years – that’s what happens when you are talented and developing as a coach.


  8. My guess is DU basketball loses every non-league road game. The team (players) are too small, height-wise and strength-wise, to compete. Yes, the one transfer is supposedly “big”, but not in tallness.


  9. DU is much better from a size standpoint this season, and would be fairly comparable to what National Champion Villanova put out last season as a starting five in terms of size.

    DU’s guards are likely to be 6-3 senior Joe Rosga at one shooting guard, probably paired with freshman Taelyr Gatlyn (6-3) at point guard. That’s exactly the same guard heights that Villanova started last year, with it’s own pair of 6-3 guards – Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth. I could also see DU Junior Ade Murkey (6-5) getting significant playing time this year at guard.

    Up front, I think DU will start Creighton grad transfer Ronnie Harrell Jr (6-7) at small forward, who is the same size as Villanova’s small forward last year, Mikal Bridges.

    At power forward, I think DU will probably start with sophomore Donoven Carlise (6-8) or junior Jake Krafka (6-7). Villanova started Omari Spellman (6-9) at PF last year, so DU would only be giving up an inch or two. DU also has a couple of big freshmen forward in 6-9 David Nzekwesi and 6-8 Alperen Kurnaz who may see some time this year, so no real drop off height wise.

    Finally, at Center, DU will likely start CU TransferTory Miller-Stewart at 6-9, who is the the size as Villanova’s center last year, Eric Paschall (6-9).

    DU’s averaged 37 rebounds a game last year, which was in the top half of the Summit league, and led the league in rebound margin. I think they should be similar in rebounds this year.

    DU’s problem last year wasn’t so much size – it was really the turnover problem that kept them from challenging for a Summit League title. This year, DU will be bigger and stronger around the lineup even without Amigo. If they can take care of the ball, I think they’ll be quite competitive in many games. I don’t see them hanging with K-State or Gonzaga, but I think they’ll be competitive in the other road games.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You’re seriously comparing DU to Villanova, in any shape? Villanova’s players are real D1 major college players, talent-wise, physically and ballers.
    You think DU’s “big men” can battle with other teams with 1-2-3 6-10, 7-0 foot players?


    1. The point was addressing DU’s ‘lack of size’. ORU was huge last season and they finished at the bottom of the Summit League. This is Billups third season and he is finally recruiting his types of players. They are taller and more athletic than DU’s prior teams. As much as we all like to focus on the past, in the next 1-3 seasons we are likely to see a different team than we have ever watched before at Denver. And the trend is away from ‘7 footers’ and gone to speed and athleticism. DU does not need to win the Big East or the Big 12. They just need to win the Summit League. Let’s hope they can do it…

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I was only making the point that you don’t need seven footers to win in college basketball, generally. DU has all the height it needs to compete in the Summit and to match up size wise with many NCAA teams.

    Skill of course is a different conversation. Villanova has three, four and five star talent, while DU is mostly two star talent, save for Harrell (four star) and Miller-Stewart (three star). DU would lose to Villanova by 30 points, but it wouldn’t be because of height differential.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oh lord, what are we arguing about. It’s a fun experience to go to a game, I like to see players get out there and hustle, dive for loose balls, set up plays and play hard. I don’t expect DU to be a basketball powerhouse, just a disciplined, hard working group. If they do that, put on a good show, pull out a surprising win once in a while, we got our money’s worth. Go Pios.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. toed – you make an interesting point. Since DU has become a powerhouse in Hockey, Lacrosse, Skiing and Soccer, many of DU’s own fans look at DU’s mediocre basketball team in the Summit League and see only failure – not worth the time or effort to be a spectator or to even care about the results.

    I’m like you – I can’t expect excellence in every single sport, and DU certainly has more than its share of excellent teams in so many sports. We’re very spoiled.

    DU Hoops is always a work in progress, given the many, many limitations faced by the Pios in this particular sport – numeric, historical, academic, geographic, financial and demographic. That said, since the Pios have come tantalizingly close to an NCAA berth in recent memory, it would pretty much complete my DU fandom experience to see the Pios make it the big dance for the first time, even just to get wiped out by some power team. But of course, once they do make it, the dream changes to winning a game or two…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And always stupid things written by the same person under different names, who believes that a DU sports blog should ONLY talk about hockey. For someone that only wants hockey talk, you sure spend an inordinate amount of time on non-hockey topics, even if it’s just to make an insipid comment or two.


  14. Excuses or realities?

    Numerical Reality:
    Number of Teams in Men’s D-I Basketball: 351
    Number of Teams in Men’s D-I Soccer: 206
    Number of Teams in Men’s D-I Lacrosse: 73
    Number of Teams in Men’s D-I Hockey: 60
    Number of Teams in D-I Skiing: 23

    Financial Reality:
    Duke Hoops Budget: $19.5 Million
    Villanova Hoops Budget $11.1 Million
    DU Basketball Budget $3.3 million

    We could certainly find more disparities in attendance, recruiting, geography, tradition, and media coverage, but I think you get the idea.

    Basketball at DU has by far the toughest slog to relevance, and it’s not close.

    Liked by 1 person

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