Sports scheduling for the Denver Pioneers, in all sports, is often an elusive and frustrating exercise.
Being located in Denver is the largest problem, as playing here requires plane rides and hotel stays for all but a handful of DU’s D-I opponents, which is tough for non-revenue sports. We don’t have the exact figures, but it’s probably a safe bet that about 85% of DU’s opponents must fly here to play us, and likewise, DU needs to fly its own mostly non-revenue sports teams to 85% of its opponents — a dynamic that puts a lot of pressure on athletic budgets and eliminates many opponents for cost reasons.
Then there is the mile-high altitude here, a factor that still scares a number of opposing coaches from flatter places. For example, in 2004, the University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team, ranked #1 nationally at the time, came out here to play both DU and Air Force, and lost both games. The Cavaliers’ coach publicly blamed the altitude for their stumbles, and the Cavaliers have not appeared on the DU home schedule since then. Who knows how many other opposing coaches privately loathe our altitude? Continue reading Puck Swami: DU and the Elusive Art of Sports Scheduling in Denver→
Yesterday, media sources across the nation released the news – Ronnie Harrell is transferring from Creighton University to the University of Denver as a graduate transfer. A local Denver high school player, the 6’7″ Harrell was playing 25 minutes per game for the Bluejays and averaged 7 points and 6 rebounds in the rugged Big East. Continue reading Stunning signings could mean DU hoop dreams→
In an 11th hour effort to keep their conference basketball titan, Gonzaga, the West Coast Conference capitulated to the demands of the Bulldog basketball program, ensuring the league will be dominated by the Zags in the future. The agreement keeps the Bulldogs from bolting to the Mountain West Conference – at least for the short term.
With a chance to go to the Summit League finals on the line, the Denver Pioneers came out and played one of their worst games of the season – it was a disappointing end to an up and down season that seemed before tonight like it might have a little bit of magic left in it. It wasn’t meant to be though, as a combination of terrible shooting, turnovers, and not enough defense gave Denver no chance to even keep the game close.
When Austin Ruder made a free throw with 10 seconds left in regulation, Oral Roberts held a 70-67 lead and it was looking like a back to back first round exit for Denver in the Summit League tournament was likely. Instead, Joe Rosga made a shot for the ages, banking in a three with five seconds to go to force overtime, and despite having to endure a second OT, Denver would come away with the 90-88 victory to advance to the second round of the Summit League tournament.
The Mountain West Conference is looking to shake things up again and Gonzaga is their prime target to upgrade its conference basketball fortunes. Usually, these things are handled in private, but both parties, Gonzaga and the Mountain West Commissioner, have expressed a public interest. And, the change could happen as soon as next season. The story was broken earlier this week by The San Diego Union-Tribune.
With the regular season complete, it’s time for the 2018 Summit League Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament Preview. Click above to listen – topics covered include:
-2017-2018 season in review.
-Surprises from this year’s DU team.
-Coverage of the first two rounds of the Summit League conference tournament
-Predictions for the entire tournament and championship game.
Denver begins conference tournament play on Sunday, March 4 as the #3 seed against #6 seed Oral Roberts at 7:30 PM mountain time. All conference tournament games will be played at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Every year we write the story and hope we never have to again.
Last season saw five programs leave the Never Made the Tournament Club (NMTC). Jacksonville State, Northern Kentucky, North Dakota, UC-Davis, and, yes, Northwestern all danced for the first time at the NCAA’s March Madness.
Northwestern, DU’s sister school, once the defining member of the club, is gone, replaced by new member Grand Canyon in their first year of postseason eligibility as the odds-on-favorite of the current NMTC members to make the NCAA Tournament. The remaining oldest D-I members of the club, Army, St. Francis (NY), William & Mary, and The Citadel are the only schools who, in consecutive seasons since 1943, have been unable to make the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, Denver, which started playing basketball in 1904, is a member of the club, too, but exited Division I play for 20 years, escaping national scrutiny as one of the oldest programs to not receive an invitation. Continue reading DU Men’s Hoops looks to exit ignominious club→