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Nov 15

Although inevitably overshadowed by the excitement of college and pro football season, the horror of the child-rape and coverup calamity at Penn State, the seemingly endless drama of conference realignment, and the “nuclear winter” of the NBA, something wonderful has happened in the last week or so: college basketball season started. It actually tipped off on Monday, kicked into high gear Friday and Saturday, and is announcing its presence today with ESPN’s 24-hour marathon. Live chat here.

So, today seems like a good time to mention that I’m not continuing Pioneer Pulse this season. Instead, I’ve started up a new Tumblr blog, Mile High Mids, where I’ll be blogging about both Denver and Northern Colorado hoops (and occasionally about other mid-majors and basketball-related topics). I will probably cross-post or link MHM posts here on the LRT occasionally, but generally I decided to keep the blogs separate, in part because it’s technically easier, and in part because this blog has become so quasi-dormant that it would be completely overrun by basketball from November through March if I blogged about hoops here. Anyway, in addition to the new blog, my @PioneerPulse Twitter account is now @MileHighMids. So follow me there if you like college hoops, and bookmark Mile High Mids.

By the way… Denver is 2-0. Yay!

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Jul 23

Another new arrival

Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm Mountain Time

Okay, so it’s not, er, quite as momentous as the birth of our third child. But I’m still irrationally excited about the arrival this afternoon of #tigerballz, part of my Mid-Majority Season 8 membership packet. As is Loyabelle, apparently, judging by this picture:

Heh.

Every TMM member gets a Ballz of his or her choice this season. Mine is technically a Pacific Tigers Ballz, because of this line in the post announcing the latest Ballz distribution:

Two years ago, we swore that there will never be another numbered Bally. We will stick to that. But we will not say anything about any rules or regulations if you happen to request a Pacific Tigers Ballz, the colors of which happen to be black on orange. (The short request and hashtag for this is #tigerballz.)

So in other words, for all practical intents and purposes, this is a Bally. He joins — and, as you can see below, dwarfs — DU Bally, a.k.a. Denver Pioneer Ballz.

When I opened the package containing #tigerballz this afternoon, Loyette immediately gasped (I kid you not) and then delightedly proclaimed, “It’s our VERY OWN BALLY!!!” At which point Loyacita grabbed it and started saying “Bally! Bally!” and playing with it. So cute. The girls love Bally. :)

As for Loyabelle, despite the photo at the top of this post, she actually isn’t quite sure what to make of him, or of his “boing”:

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Jun 14

When we last left the #ZombieWAC, it was on life support after the near-death experience of almost losing Utah State and San Jose State to the Mountain West. That followed on the heels of seemingly getting a new lease on life that would allow it limp forward for some time as an Island of Misfit Mascots Division I Programs From West of the Mississippi.

That was January. Since then, things have been relatively quiet on the WAC expansion/defection front. But today, news! The University of Denver has a new non-football partner in the otherwise football-focused league: the University of Seattle.

The Western Athletic Conference today announced that an invitation for membership has been issued to and accepted by Seattle University to join the conference effective July 1, 2012. … With the addition, the WAC will consist of nine full-time members for the 2012-13 season; Denver (non-football), Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Seattle (non-football), Texas State, UTSA and Utah State.

For those keeping score at home, that’s nine schools total, but only seven football schools. So, for the moment at least, my Twitter sub-genre of jokes about invitations to “join the WAC as its eighth football school” remains intact. Huzzah! Anyway…

“We are pleased to announce that Seattle University is joining the WAC,” said Commissioner Karl Benson. “Seattle’s tradition and history along with a strong commitment to academics, its athletics program and their facilities make the university and its top-15 media market a great fit for the WAC. We look forward to a beneficial and successful relationship.”

Not invited to join the WAC? Utah Valley University, which had made a pitch to get in, but was smacked down today. That’s right: UVU was just rejected by a league that was itself rejected by North Texas and Montana, and that reportedly covets such powerhouses as Sam Houston State, Sacramento State and Cal Poly. Someone put that school’s athletic department on suicide watch, because man, that’s depressing.

Remember to donate any unused, unwanted Division I schools to the WAC’s collection bin at your local supermarket.less than a minute ago via bitly Favorite Retweet Reply

Meanwhile, a blog post last week by the Mercury-News’s Jon Wilner suggests the WAC isn’t done yet:

My sense is that the WAC will take a two-phased approach to expansion — Benson indicated as much last month but declined to discuss specific schools.

Phase One (according to sources): Invite Seattle next week to join for the 2012-13 school year.

Phase Two: Invite multiple schools, including those that play football, next June (for 2013-14).

The delay would allow prospective football members to resolve the massive financial and/or political issues that come with jumping from FCS to FBS.

(Lamar, Sam Houston State, Montana and Montana State, Sacramento State and Cal Poly have all been discussed by WAC officials as potential targets.)

Because when I think “the next Boise State,” I think… Cal Poly!

Speaking of which:

Yes, the WAC has been much maligned … the butt of fan/media jokes … since the announced departures of Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii.

Jokes? About the WAC? Impossible!

But when assessing the WAC’s future, remember two things:

1) A number of FCS schools and D-I basketball independents want to join the conference, and

2) For a slew of reasons, including the educational and athletic opportunities that come with playing major college sports, the NCAA wants the WAC to survive.

My guess, when all is said and done, is that the conference will have 9 or 10 football schools and 10-12 basketball schools.

But it will take a few years to get there.

So basically, the WAC really is a zombie conference, just like the “zombie banks” of 2009, kept solvent solely due to the largess of an institution that didn’t want it to fail: in that case, the federal government; in this case, the NCAA. The WAC: too big to fail??

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Mar 09

Congrats, UALR

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 10:22 am Mountain Time

The fifth-place finisher in the six-team Sun Belt West, Arkansas-Little Rock (19-16 overall, 7-9 in regular-season conference play, RPI #200), is your 2011 Sun Belt Champion, bound for the NCAA Tournament (almost certainly by way of Dayton) for the first time since 1990, thanks to the last-second heroics of conference player of the year Solomon Bozeman.

What a game! Congratulations to the champs, and good luck in the Big Dance, Trojans.

Like my giant bracket says, Sun Belt West represent!!

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The way the tournament played out, with all the top seeds falling early and two non-bye teams playing for the title, made Denver’s first-round pratfall against Florida International (which lost its next game 73-38) all the more frustrating. This really was anybody’s tournament. It could have been the Pioneers’. But they basically forgot to show up.

Ah, well. Maybe next year.

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Mar 05

It ends with a loss

Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm Mountain Time

Florida International 53, Denver 49, final. The Pioneers’ season is over, ending with a profound whimper. DU finishes a deeply disappointing 13-17 overall, 9-8 in a weak Sun Belt, a first-round exit from the SBC tourney, and no postseason appearance.

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Those great expectations? Completely unmet. Yes, there were major injury problems with this team this year, and they have the potential to be a lot better next season, if they can stay healthy. But make no mistake, the Pioneers underachieved, and tonight put an exclamation point on that.

The game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score. DU trailed 22-12 at halftime — yes, you read that correctly — and was 15 points behind with 5:21 left. The Pioneers only got within low single digits in the closing seconds, when it was too little, too late.

The offensive efficiency numbers aren’t out yet, but this had to be Denver’s worst performance of the season, or close to it. They shot just 34% from the field and 24% from three, including an 0-for-13 start; again, by the time they started hitting #superhoops, it was far too late. Keep in mind, this is the nation’s 5th-best three-point shooting and 63rd-best overall shooting team. But tonight they couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives. As Coach Joe Scott put it with understandable redundancy: “We didn’t shoot the ball well, and we didn’t put the ball in the basket. I thought the game was there tonight for us to be successful but we were off. You can’t win if the ball doesn’t go in the basket. We just didn’t shoot the ball well.” Indeed. Only Florida International’s own offensive incompetence kept the game from being an Arkansas State-like wipeout.

Anyway, more later, perhaps. For now, I have plane, hotel and car rental reservations to cancel — there will be no crazy trip to Arkansas for me — and then I gotta get to bed.

P.S. Here’s Joe Scott after the game:

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Mar 04

Pioneer Pulse Live

Friday, March 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm Mountain Time

Below is a CoverItLive window showing all the tweets on @PioneerPulse, automatically imported. This post will serve as my running “liveblog” of the Pioneers’ season. Feel free to respond either by commenting here or by tweeting something at @PioneerPulse.

[Originally timestamped 2/5/2011 at 11:08 PM; bumped to top. -ed.]

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Mar 04

Excellent Adventure recap

Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:31 am Mountain Time

It’s not DU-related, but Pioneer Pulse readers may enjoy my belated full blog writeup of “Brendan & DU Bally’s Excellent Above-the-Red-Line Adventure” to BYU-Wyoming and SDSU-Colorado State.

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Hopefully I’ll be going on another “Excellent Adventure” next week — to Hot Springs, Arkansas and then Greeley, Colorado. If Denver makes the Sun Belt title game, I’ll be in Hot Springs on Tuesday for it. Then, I’m going to the Big Sky title game (hopefully involving Northern Colorado) on Wednesday evening, potentially driving straight to Greeley from DIA, if my Arkansas plans happen. Go Pioneers! Make my plans completely nuts!

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Feb 28

Unofficial Sun Belt tourney bracket

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm Mountain Time

Thursday’s heartbreaker at Louisiana-Lafayette and Saturday’s pratfall at North Texas, combined with other results around the Sun Belt, doomed Denver to a #3 seed in next week’s Sun Belt Tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and a first-round game against East cellar-dweller Florida International (of Isiah Thomas fame) instead of a bye into the quarterfinals. That’s a real bummer, considering Denver started the conference season 6-0 and 7-1, and once enjoyed a three-game lead in the loss column in the Sun Belt West.

Still, the bracket is, at least arguably, reasonably friendly to the Pioneers. With the league’s best overall team, Florida Atlantic (13-3 in SBC play, 21-9 overall), and its hottest and second-hottest teams, Louisiana-Lafayette (10 straight conference wins since starting 1-5) and Western Kentucky (8 wins out of last 12 since starting 0-4), all on the “top” side of the bracket, and Denver on the “bottom,” the Pioneers would seem to be in the “weaker” half of the field. Unfortunately, that also means the Pioneers would likely have to get past Arkansas State in a near-home game in the semifinals in order to qualify for the championship game on Tuesday (which I’ll be at, if Denver gets there).

Below is an unofficial version of the bracket that I created, typing the teams with known seeds on top of the conference’s official blank bracket. Only two spots, the #4 and #5 seeds in the West, remain up in the air, which is why they say “UNT/UALR”; more on that below.

Unofficial Sun Belt bracket

The first two steps on Denver’s road to a conference title are actually identical to last season, when they beat Florida International and Middle Tennessee before losing to North Texas in the semifinals. This year’s third step could potentially be the same, too, but only if North Texas loses tomorrow’s blizzard makeup game against Arkansas-Little Rock (winner gets the #4 seed, loser gets the #5), then beats South Alabama and then upsets Arkansas State. If UNT beats UALR tomorrow, then two of Denver’s three potential semifinal opponents would be Arkansas teams, with South Alabama the Pioneers’ only hope of avoiding a virtual road game in the semis, assuming they get there. If I’m Joe Scott, I think I’d much rather play either North Texas or South Alabama — both potential “revenge” games — than either of the Arkansas teams in the semis, so I think I’m rooting for UALR tomorrow night.

As an aside, how exciting is it to be looking at brackets again? I started constructing a hand-drawn version of this bracket on Saturday morning (here’s what it looked like by Saturday night), and immediately felt a little twinge of excitement just to be constructing a bracket. It’s almost March!!! Whee!!!

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Feb 20

Today’s unexpected and heartbreaking home loss to South Alabama, in which Denver blew a 15-point lead, badly damaged the Pioneers’ hopes of winning the Sun Belt West Division, and put at risk their chances of finishing in the Top 2 and thus earning a bye to the conference tourney quarterfinals in Hot Springs next month.

The defeat dropped DU into a three-way tie for first place, and now the pressure is on this 2-8 road team as they finish the regular season at red-hot Louisiana-Lafayette (9 straight wins) and conference nemesis North Texas this coming Thursday and Saturday.

So what are the scenarios for Denver?

Let’s start with the standings right now, with each team’s remaining games.

Denver (9-5) at ULL 2/24, at UNT 2/26
Arkansas State (9-5) vs. UNT 2/24, vs. UALR 2/26
Louisiana-Lafayette (9-5) vs. Denver 2/24, at ULM 2/26
Arkansas-Little Rock (7-6) at USA 2/24, at ArkSt 2/26, vs. UNT 3/1
North Texas (6-7) at ArkSt 2/24, vs. Denver 2/26, at UALR 3/1
Louisiana-Monroe (2-13) vs. ULL 2/26

Obviously, tiebreakers come heavily into play here. The good news for Denver is that many scenarios would ultimately be decided by Tiebreaker B, “division won-lost record,” and Denver’s got a better intradivisional record than its competitors in most scenarios. So the Pioneers would do quite well in most tiebreaker situations.

I won’t bore you with the gory details, but here’s the bottom line, according to my calculations:

If Denver wins both games: It clinches the #1 seed.

If Denver beats Lafayette, loses to North Texas: Denver clinches at worst the #2 seed. For the #1 seed, Arkansas State must lose at least one of its remaining games (vs. North Texas and vs. UALR, both at home).

If Denver loses to Lafayette, beats North Texas: For Denver to get the #1 seed, Lafayette must lose to Monroe and Arkansas State must lose at least once. For Denver to get the #2 seed, one of those two things must happen.

If Denver loses both games: The Pioneers can’t finish with the #1 seed, but they’re still mathematically alive for #2, in one narrow scenario. All of the following would need to happen: South Alabama beats UALR on Thursday; North Texas wins at Arkansas State on Thursday; UALR wins at Arkansas State on Saturday; and UALR beats North Texas on Tuesday, March 1.

So basically, a Denver win on Thursday over Lafayette would clinch the #2 seed for the Pioneers, and give them a pretty decent shot at the #1. A loss to Lafayette probably puts #1 out of reach (since Lafayette is unlikely to lose to Monroe), but #2 is still possibly within reach (depending on what Arkansas State does), if the Pioneers can turn around and beat North Texas on Saturday. If they can’t, and instead get swept on another road trip, that would likely (though not 100% certainly) doom Denver has to play a first-round game in the SBC tournament, instead of getting a bye into the quarterfinals.

Getting swept on the road would also mean a 9-7 conference finish for Denver, after a 6-0 and 7-1 start, and an overall regular season record of 13-16, likely requiring a Sun Belt championship to claw back to .500 on the year. (A four-game run to the championship would put them at 17-16. A loss in the First Four in Dayton would drop them to 17-17; a win in Dayton followed by a loss to a #1 seed in the Round of 64 would put them at 18-17. Alternatively, a loss in the Sun Belt final would make them 16-17, but a CIT and CBI invite and a pair of wins could get them back to .500. But would the CIT or CBI invite a 16-17 team?)

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Feb 18

Denver 65, Louisiana-Monroe 37

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 12:32 am Mountain Time

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As detailed in my liveblog, Denver walloped struggling Louisiana-Monroe, 65-37 at Magness Arena on Friday — and in the process, took back sole possession of the Sun Belt West Division lead, thanks to Louisiana-Lafayette’s win over Arkansas State.

Here are the AP story and the Denver Post story on the DU-ULM game. Both include the money quote from leading scorer Brian Stafford, who had 14 points: “It’s good to be back in the driver’s seat and have control of our destiny on this side of the bracket. We know the position we’re in, and we want to reward ourselves. That makes the next three games that much bigger.” As soon as he said that, I knew everyone would quote it. Heh.

Speaking of quotes, you gotta love the bluntness of Louisiana-Monroe coach Ernest Vasquez: “We’re a bad team,” he said of his Warhawks, who are 6-22 overall, 1-12 in conference play, and #332 (out of 345) in the RPI. “And they’re a good team. … We’re struggling in all areas, and Denver is really tough here. They’re good.” He has a great southern accent, too. I might try to post the audio later.

Denver next faces South Alabama on Sunday, then hits the road for games at Louisiana-Lafayette and North Texas to end the regular season. Unfortunately, Bally and I won’t be able to make it Sunday, so tonight was our last visit to Magness Arena for the year.

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Bally is happy to report, however, that the season ended with a bang — or rather a dunk:

Actually, I shouldn’t say “ended.” This was our last game at Magness this year, but it’s not necessarily out last DU game. If the Pioneers reach the Sun Belt championship game, we’ll be flying to Arkansas for it. Go Pioneers!

P.S. Below, video of the highlight of the night — the halftime performance by the Montbello High School Drumline:

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Feb 10

Game! Of! The! Night!

Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm Mountain Time

[UPDATE: Denver wins by a shockingly lopsided margin, 69-42. Wow! See my live tweets. And here are game stories by the Denver Post, the Sun-Sentinel and the AP.]

Kyle Whelliston’s Mid-Majority — the web’s premier resource for mid-major basketball coupled with random philosophical asides, 1980s references, Super Bowl information-avoidance contests, Tom Petty music, and redheads — drudge-gotn2has named tonight’s Denver-Florida Atlantic showdown at DU’s Magness Arena the Game! Of! The! Night! in all of mid-majordom, selecting it from among the 45 games being contested by teams from sea to shining sea in college basketball’s 25 below-the-Red-Line conferences. It’s the first time this season that a Sun Belt game has garnered “G!O!T!N!” honors. Whelliston writes:

The Sun Belt. Its massive 2,097-foot footprint brings together a dozen colleges in shared unity and purpose. They are all in the contiguous United States, for instance, and all offer four-year undergraduate degrees. It could be said, also, that the sun shines on all of them… some more than others, and that’s not some vague sports metaphor, I promise you. Despite all the travel, it’s been a fairly stable league this century, and the basketball has featured rising and falling long-distance rivalries. The 2000s began with a Western Kentucky/Louisiana-Lafayette axis, which later became a WKU-USA tandem, and North Texas has snuck in and won two of the last four championships. Right now, the league with no real center has no central struggle. And so tonight, we have a battle of division leaders from either far end, east and west.

The Sun Belt does have star power, and most casual fans know about the men who lead the teams in the league’s southeast corner. Isiah Thomas is getting hurt by the game again at Florida International (9-14, 4-7), putting up the same kind of results that got Sergio Rouco, his less famous predecessor, fired. Mike Jarvis may never get the Saint John’s imbroglio from the mid-2000s out of his first graf, but he’s really coaching the lights out in Boca Raton right now. FAU is 18-7 overall and 10-1 as the Belt’s buckle, and is coming off a tight 73-72 come-from-behind home win over Isiah’s Golden Panthers. The Owls play the best defense in the league (.947 points per trip allowed), and have a sophomore class full of studs like 5-foot-6 Ray Taylor (11.8 ppg, 3.8 apg) that will be producing until the next election cycle. Now all this team needs is a worthy rival.

West leader Denver might be a tough sell, not only because of their 11-12 record (7-3 SBC), but also because they are two time zones and several climate bands away — FAU and Denver only play once a year, at alternating sites. Fortunately for the Pioneers, who have been outscored by 10 points on the way to a 2-7 road record, this game will be at home and at high altitude. With the exception of 2006-07, an irredeemable 4-25 disaster (that included a head coach who simply stopped showing up at work in December), Magness Arena has been a hyper-barbaric chamber for opponents (no more than three losses at home in the past six non-2007 seasons). The oxygen deprivation effects have been quite something: West division second placers Arkansas State lost by 38 last month in Denver but won by 25 in the rematch at Jonesboro last weekend. Joe Scott’s team is first in two-point shooting (54 percent) and has the best general offense in the league (1.09 points per trip in league play), and won nine of 10 in a stretch that featured offense no worse than that sterling 1.09 mark. Slow the pace down (59 possessions, second-slowest in Division I), pick your shot, and nail it. Makes enough sense to me.

Here’s the official game preview from the Denver SID office, and here are previews from the Denver Post, the Sun-Sentinel, and FAU blogs The Owl’s Nest and FAU Owl Access.

(The fake-Drudge G!O!T!N! graphic is mine, not Kyle’s, by the way. Just a little play on my standard Twitter avatar, which I’ve temporarily changed for the evening.)

IMG_0804Frustratingly, blog mascot DU Bally and I won’t be at the game in person (or “in stuffed basketball,” I suppose), even though it’s pretty clearly the biggest game of the regular season for the Pioneers. Due to a schedule conflict, I need to be at home with the (sleeping) kids, as Becky had pre-existing plans this evening. But I’ll be watching live — I actually upgraded our cable service for the month, ponying up $12 extra for the 111-channel “starter” package instead of the 30-channel “basic” package we regularly get, specifically so I could watch this game on FSN Rocky Mountain — and I’ll be live-tweeting here on Pioneer Pulse and on my @PioneerPulse Twitter account. So, stay with Pioneer Pulse tonight for all of your G!O!T!N! needs!

Just to briefly review the stakes: Denver, after a 6-0 and then 7-1 start in the Sun Belt (which itself followed a disastrous 2-9 start and 4-9 final record in non-conference play), has dropped two straight, both on the road, the last one in humiliating fashion, as Kyle alluded. So the Pios are 7-3, with 3 of their 5 remaining games after this one being on the road — where their only wins are against a then-reeling Western Kentucky team and a conference-worst Louisiana-Monroe team, both just barely. So a loss here would put a (gulp) 9-7 finish very much in play. By contrast, a win would keep the prospect of a regular-season championship and NIT autobid (if they don’t win the SBC tournament in Hot Springs and thus the NCAA autobid) in play, though of course they’d need to win some road games to make that happen. But basically, if Denver beats FAU, they would then need to lose one fewer game than the Owls do for the rest of the season (and finish ahead of all the other teams they presently lead in the standings, natch) to win the conference. By contrast, if Denver loses to FAU, the Owls have the regular-season title pretty much wrapped up, realistically if not quite mathematically.

So… it’s a big game. Not quite as big as if Denver had at least split the road trip to Arkansas, in which case tonight’s winner would effectively take the conference lead now (based on the loss column & tiebreakers, anyway). But still big. A worthy G!O!T!N!, and a huge test for the Pioneers. Let’s go DU!

On another note, I’ve just completed a massive update to my Flickr gallery of photos of DU Bally (who, for any Mid-Majority readers newly sent here by Kyle, is, yes, technically not a Bally, but a BALLZ). It now contains 130 pictures from throughout the season, including the one at above left, and the one below (artsy!) Also: two video clips. Enjoy!

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P.S. New readers… have a look around! And please bookmark du.brendanloy.com and, if you’re on Twitter, follow @PioneerPulse!

If you don’t want to just scroll through the 8 pages of posts since the season started, here are a few sample posts that TMM readers might enjoy: my DU-North Texas writeup, my DU-Florida International writeup, my DU-Wyoming writeup (back when things looked really bleak for Denver), my article from when DU was 1-5, and, going waaay back, my season preview (and subsequent reconsideration of that preview).

Also, my coverage of Denver joining the WAC, followed by the WAC imploding: here, here, here, here, here and here.

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Feb 05

From Pioneer Pulse to @PioneerPulse

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 10:29 pm Mountain Time

College basketball is a funny sport. Something like 40 percent of the regular season takes place in November and December, when almost nobody is paying attention. Another big chunk happens in January, when football still dominates the national conversation. Only once the Super Bowl ends, and March Madness becomes the “next big thing” on the sports calendar, do casual fans really start paying attention.

Knowing this, my original plan was that February would be the month when Pioneer Pulse really takes off. I’d do some more in-depth and featurey type blog posts, I’d try more aggressively to advertise the site to potentially interested DU and Denver types, and I’d generally gear up for the coming push toward the postseason.

Alas, the opposite is going to be true. For personal reasons wholly unrelated to the team or the season or basketball, I’m going to need to take a step back from my DU blogging for the rest of the regular season — we’ll cross the March bridge when we come to it — and let my new @PioneerPulse Twitter account do the heavy lifting through February.

I’m sure the blog’s dozen regular readers are crushed. :)

I kid, but in all seriousness, I realize I do have some committed and interested readers, and I realize that early February is a terrible time to do this. But I have to keep my priorities straight. This blog is a personal project, a hobby, not something I’m required to do or something I get paid to do. And I’m simply spending too much time, losing too much sleep and neglecting too much else, most of all the pampering of my lovely pregnant wife — all in the service of a blog project that, frankly, I’d need to spend even more time on in order to really be happy with it. I feel like I’m doing the bare minimum, if that, and it’s still too much. Turns out I just don’t have time for a full-time job, two adorable yet demanding children, a charming yet needy wife, and a gig as a fake journalist. Go figure. :) If this were Twitter, I might add the hashtag #BitOffMoreThanICouldChew.

So, here’s the plan, in two parts:

1) Thursday night, in the midst of National Pixelvision Day, in order to avoid “Twitter Jail” and stop clogging everyone’s feeds, I created a new Twitter account, @PioneerPulse. Going forward, I’ll be letting that account handle essentially all my coverage.

In place of the individual “live-tweeting” post for each games, a single post will soon appear above this one, which will display all of my relevant tweets, imported automatically into a CoverItLive window. It will be there both during games and in between them, with readers invited to either comment or tweet back at me. Live-tweeting of games will continue, but will at times be less intense than it has sometimes been. For instance, I’m not necessarily going to frantically scramble to live-tweet when it conflicts with bedtimes and the like. Most importantly, I won’t be doing full-length blog write-ups of the games afterward — a task that, when I do it, takes hours, believe it or not. Instead, everything will appear via Twitter.

Also, I most likely will not be attending two of Denver’s final three home games. I definitely won’t be at Florida Atlantic, due to a schedule conflict. I’ll probably attend either UL-Monroe or South Alabama, but not both. As for the postseason: we’ll see. Right now, I’ve got a ticket booked to fly to Little Rock for the conference championship game in Hot Springs, if Denver makes it that far (to be canceled if they don’t; it’s a Southwest ticket). Whether I’ll ultimately go if that happens remains up in the air at the moment. I lean toward yes, but we’ll see.

2) If any of my DU-interested readers want to help pick up the slack, and do some Pioneer coverage of your own here, e-mail me at du@brendanloy.com and let’s talk. I can make you a guest-blogger, and I can talk to the Denver SID folks to see if they’ll credential you to go to the games I’m missing and sit on press row and report in my place. I have no idea if that’s possible, but I can ask.

Again, I know this is a bummer for the small but committed group that’s followed and enjoyed what I’ve written here since November, and to those people, I sincerely apologize. I had every intention of seeing this through to the end of the season, full speed ahead — indeed, accelerating to the big finish — but it has proven to be the last straw that’s overwhelmed me in a very busy winter, and I’ve got to prioritize. Again, if you want to help keep the blog going through February as more than just a glorified Twitter shell, e-mail me.

Go Pioneers!

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Feb 05

Denver-ArkSt liveblog

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm Mountain Time

After a heartbreaking overtime loss Thursday at Arkansas-Little Rock, the Denver Pioneers face a crucial test tonight at Arkansas State — a team the Pioneers beat at home by 38 points two weeks ago, but one that is clearly better than it played that day. The game in Jonesboro tips at 6pm MST. Denver is 7-2 in conference, while Arkansas State is 6-4, so a Pioneer loss would make the Sun Belt’s West division a race again, with Denver holding just a half-game lead. A win, by contrast, would solidify Denver’s huge divisional edge, and put them in position to catch Florida Atlantic (9-1) as the overall conference leader (in position for the NIT autobid) with a win over FAU at Magness on Thursday. So, this is a big game.

Any tweets by my new Denver-specific Twitter account, @PioneerPulse, will appear below. Live-tweeting will likely be limited somewhat by the girls’ 7pm bedtimes, but I’ll do my best. :) Alternatively, here’s the official liveblog from the Denver SID folks.

You can join the conversation by tweeting something “@PioneerPulse.”

[game over, tweetbox removed]

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Feb 03

DU-UALR and National #Pixelvision Day liveblog

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm Mountain Time

Denver travels to Arkansas-Little Rock in a crucial game tonight at 6:00 PM Mountain Time. My live-tweeting will be limited by the girls’ bedtimes, but I’ll do my best. Meanwhile, it’s National Pixelvision Day!!! I’ll be live-#pixelvision-tweeting the Irvine vs. Fullerton game at 8:00 PM. Anyway, you can see the magic unfold below. (And if you reply, please tag your tweets with #pixelvision so we can make this sucker trend!!!) See also the OFFICIAL #pixelvision live-chat, of which this is but a pale imitation.

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Feb 02

A most excellent adventure

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm Mountain Time

This isn’t technically DU-related, but over on The Living Room Times, I’m liveblogging a basketball road trip to Laramie and (hopefully) Fort Collins with the Pioneer Pulse mascot, DU Bally, and me. Tune in!

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