#7 Denver Men’s Lacrosse opens its season in nine days against Utah. Yes, you read that right. Denver Men’s Lacrosse opens its season in nine days. Where has the time gone? Well, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, for starters, and time is really nothing more than a social construct but I digress. What really matters here is Denver Men’s Lacrosse officially unveiled its full schedule today that features four non-conference games, two at home and two on the road, and a 10-game ’round-robin” style BIG EAST schedule.
DU’s full schedule is below:
Here it is! After Air Force, here's the schedule:
2/20 at Marquette
2/27 vs Providence
3/6 at St. John's
3/13 vs Georgetown
3/21 at Villanova
3/27 at Providence
4/3 vs Marquette
4/10 vs Villanova
4/17 at Georgetown
4/24 vs St. John's https://t.co/y9azHk94kR
— LetsGoDU (@LetsGoDU) January 21, 2021
The first shock to the system is the notable omissions of Notre Dame and Ohio State. Denver has had both on its regular-season schedule every year since 1997 and Ohio State since 1996 – although the last two years, that matchup has not been played due to a Bomb Cyclone (2019) and the cancellation of the season due to COVID-19 the day before the Pios were scheduled to leave for Columbus (2020). The lack of Men’s Lacrosse’s western rivalry certainly will be an adjustment but hey, there’s always the NCAA Tournament.
Now, looking at who Denver will be playing, head coach Bill Tierney is wasting no time throwing his 2021 squad into the fire with a trip to North Carolina to play #1 Duke and #6 North Carolina in the span of three days just two weekends into the season. DU will bookend the trip to North Carolina with the geographically logical matchups with Utah and Air Force, both at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. For a team that features incredible returning talent like Ethan Walker and Jack Hannah and massively talented transfers like Jackson Morrill and Lucas Cotler, the Pios will not have the luxury of time to jell.
In Denver’s BIG EAST portion of its schedule, they will play every team in the conference twice – once at home and once on the road – before the conference tournament in Providence, the one in Rhode Island. This is a new scheduling wrinkle in response to the COVID-19 pandemic intended to limit exposure to other conferences and create a kind of conference-only travel bubble. In a normal year, Denver would play just five conference games and around 10 non-conference games.
Make no mistake, this is a Denver team with serious national title aspirations. But with a full 10 games against historically weak BIG EAST opponents, Denver will likely have to run the table and/or win the BIG EAST Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. That is unlike in years past where its traditionally strong non-conference schedule was generally enough of a resume-builder to get it into the NCAA Tournament with little regard for its performance in-conference.
While no official announcement has been made, it is our understanding that fans and non-essential media (read: non-tv/radio personnel) will not be permitted to attend any games at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium this year, which is a gut-punch for a program that boasts some of the best attendance in the country game in and game out. It has been a weird year all around, though, so what’s one more season without fans, right? With no fans in the stands, every game will be available on Pioneer Vision, and expect Altitude to pick up some games.
Sound off in the comments. What are your thoughts on the schedule? Give us your season predictions!
Top photo of Ethan Walker against North Carolina courtesy of Denver Athletics