With a record of three wins and five losses, DU men’s hoops (3-5, 0-0) are several wins short of achieving what head coach Jeff Wulbrun’s hoped to label this season’s team, “the most improved team in college basketball”. Three of DU’s five losses have been by two or fewer points on top of another overtime loss. Breaking the shackles of a struggling program resides with winning close games and putting an end to a road losing streak that now sits at 38 games.
The all-time consecutive road loss record according to the NCAA is 64 set by Texas-Pan American, from November 25th, 1995, to January 8th, 2000. Their futility was ended by the Summit League’s Oral Roberts, 79-62. If you want to compare consecutive losses on the road to include neutral sites, the record is 56 losses by Sacramento State from November 22nd, 1991, to January 5th, 1995. That streak ended against the Loyola Chicago Ramblers, 68-56. Denver has two wins at neutral sites since their own streak began. They won in Santa Clara, California against Cal State Fullerton in 2019 and upended IUPUI in San Antonio, Texas earlier this season. That streak, thankfully, is out of Denver’s reach.
The last time Denver won a true road game was December 11th, 2018, nearly four full seasons ago (Yes, the same year that all of us were breathlessly following the Royal Wedding of Harry & Meghan. They have since added two children and Harry is no longer bankrolled by dad). The losses have come in all shapes and sizes from a 101-40 thrashing against Gonzaga in 2018 to this season’s overtime loss to Utah Valley.
As Denver men’s basketball tries to inch their way toward respectability, their best chance of breaking the streak is over the next four games prior to the beginning of Summit League conference play. Non-conference games are usually poorly attended, allow coaches to experiment with lineups, and are less intense than conference tilts. Conference road games are more hard-fought and home courts defended, especially in one-bid conferences like the Summit League.
Denver plays 5-0 Wyoming (12/2), 4-2 Texas State (12/5), 4-3 New Mexico (12/9) and 1-5 Dixie State (12/11) before returning to complete their non-conference schedule at home against UC San Diego. Ironically, if DU loses the next three, the Dixie State (UT) game will mark the four-year anniversary since Denver won on the road and possibly DU’s best opportunity to stop the current road losing streak. The College Basketball Power Index shows Dixie State at #332 and Denver at #341. The first three road games should heavily favor the home team.
Should Denver come up empty-handed the next four road games as well as conference play, they would have 51 consecutive road losses at the end of the season – 13 shy of the record.