Mile High Mids

Mar 14

UNC eliminated in OT thriller; Mile High Mids ends

Facing top seed Weber State on the Wildcats’ home floor in the Big Sky semifinals, the Northern Colorado Bears rallied from 11 points down in the second half to force overtime, then rallied again from 7 points down in the extra period — but couldn’t quite complete the comeback, and lost 66-63 to the Wildcats.

"I’m really proud of our guys," said UNC coach B.J. Hill. "I told them afterwards, ‘I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never been more proud of an effort, win or lose, in my life.’"

With the fate of this blog itself hanging in the balance, there were some thrilling and ecstatic moments along the way, as my Twitter timeline shows:

#SUPERHOOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @unc_bears TIE GAME!!!!!!

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 15, 2014

MILE HIGH MIDS WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT! WE WILL NOT VANISH WITHOUT A FIGHT! WE’RE GOING TO LIVE ON! WE’RE GOING TO SURVIVE!

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 15, 2014

But, ultimately:

It ends in a loss.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 15, 2014

A valiant effort by the @unc_bears, and a helluva game, but Weber survives in OT. Thus ends the 4th & final season of @MileHighMids. #sadz

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 15, 2014

That, indeed, is all she wrote for Mile High Mids. As I explained previously, I’m retiring, or “graduating,” this blog (and its Twitter account) after these four seasons. Now that all the teams covered by Mile High Mids are no longer in contention for the national championship, the blog’s “season” is over.

Of course, I’ll still watch, tweet about, and occasionally blog about college basketball, particularly the mid-majors, just as I did before Mile High Mids existed. But my coverage of local mid-major basketball won’t have its own dedicated blog and account anymore.

Anyway, please follow me at @brendanloy and bookmark brendanloy.tumblr.com (a.k.a. The Living Room Tumblr) for my coverage and discussion of whatever I feel like talking about, including hoops. (NOTE: Coverage of Northern Colorado’s home CIT game next week will be through the Brendan Loy accounts.)

Maybe, after the whole season is truly over, I’ll write some sort of postscript, epilogue or retrospective about all this. Right now, I don’t have time to be that thoughtful. It’s Selection Sunday weekend, dammit!! :) So I’ll just say this:

Thank you.

Untitled

And then there was one

Wyoming lost (barely), so the final hope for Mile High Mids is officially now Northern Colorado. The Bears on Thursday took a big lead early, then barely held on late, to beat Northern Arizona 62-60 and advance to a semifinal showdown with #1 seed Weber State, Friday at 7:00 PM on the Wildcats’ home floor.

THE @UNC_BEARS (AND @MILEHIGHMIDS) SURVIVE AND ADVANCE!!!!!

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids) March 14, 2014

Northern Colorado lives on. We need them to reach the NCG so we don’t have to say goodbye to @MileHighMids

— Yesh Ginsburg (@yesh222) March 14, 2014

Now, it all comes down to UNC-Weber. If the Wildcats win, it will officially end the fourth and final season of Mile High Mids. If the Bears win, they play for an NCAA bid on Saturday — and maybe, just maybe, Mile High Mids can stay alive into the Big Dance.

Well, @zbloxham & @bhein3#ITSAWAR!!! Northern Colorado vs. Weber State tomorrow, with the fate of @MileHighMids hanging in the balance.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids) March 14, 2014

@zbloxham I am the servant of the Giant Inflatable Bear, wielder of the Scent of Greeley! Purple Fire will not avail you, Wildcat of Udûn!

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids) March 14, 2014

Let’s make it 2-32, @unc_bears! RT @WeberHoops: The 3 teams left in the semifinals tomorrow are 1-32 vs Weber State in Ogden all-time.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids) March 14, 2014

Can NoCo do it? We’ll find out Friday night. In the mean time, here’s video from the Northern Arizona win:

Go Bears!

Mar 13

3 Mile High Mids eliminated; 2 remain

After Denver’s loss Monday, I wrote that this blog, and its Twitter account, “will remain active as long as Northern Colorado stays alive.” But, actually, that’s not quite right. There are fiveMile High Mids" to consider. In addition to Denver and Northern Colorado, there is also the trio of Mountain West teams on the Front Range: Colorado State, Air Force and Wyoming.

I haven’t followed the “MWC Three” nearly as closely as DU and UNC, but I have covered them somewhat — for instance, here, here (and here), here and here — and I have declared them to be within this blog’s “jurisdiction,” so to speak. So, I really shouldn’t shut down Mile High Mids until they’re all eliminated too.

That said, well, two of the MWC Three already are eliminated — and in rather dramatic and ignominious fashion, too.

Colorado State fell victim to an epic collapse yesterday — or a “miracle,” from the Utah State perspective — as the Blue Aggies rallied from a 66-57 deficit with 1:35 left to close out the game on a 16-3 run (which started with a 12-0 spurt). USU 73, CSU 69, final.

Not to be outdone, Air Force, in the very next game, surrendered a 15-point lead with 5:46 to play, allowing Fresno State to finish the game on a 20-3 run and rally from a 56-41 deficit to win 61-59 over the Falcons.

That leaves two remaining “Mile High Mids” in contention: Wyoming, the #5 seed in the Mountain West, which plays host school and #4-seed UNLV at 3:30 PM Mountain Time today; and of course Northern Colorado, the #6 seed in the Big Sky, which faces #3-seed Northern Arizona at 4:30 PM MDT today.

If both Wyoming and Northern Colorado lose today, Mile High Mids will officially end. If either team wins, Mile High Mids will “survive and advance” for at least one more day.

According to Ken Pomeroy, Northern Colorado is a 55% favorite against NAU, despite being the lower seed. Las Vegas has the Bears as a 2.5-point favorite. Wyoming, on the other hand, is a 26% KenPom underdog at UNLV, and a 8.5-point underdog according to Vegas…in Vegas…against Vegas.

Another note: Northern Colorado fans should root for #7-seed Sacramento over #2-seed North Dakota in the 2:05 PM game. Because the Big Sky re-seeds the semifinalists, the Bears, if they beat NAU, would then face #1-seed and home team Weber State in the semis — unless Sacramento State wins (47% chance, per KenPom), in which case the Hornets would get WSU, and the Bears would play the winner of Montana-Portland State.

Anyway, here is some pregame video from the Bears’ SID office:

Go Bears! And Go Pokes! (And Go Hornets!)

P.S. If Wyoming wins, the Cowboys would play the San Diego State-Utah State winner in a semifinal game at 7:00 PM Mountain Time tomorrow. If UNC wins, the Bears’ semifinal game would be tomorrow at either 4:30 PM (if Sacramento State beats North Dakota today) or 7:05 PM (if North Dakota wins).

P.P.S. Northern Colorado will reportedly host a CIT game on either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, if they don’t get the NCAA autobid.

I will certainly follow and cover, and may very well attend, that game — but I’ll do it from @brendanloy and brendanloy.tumblr.com, thereby honoring the Mid-Majority tradition of “seasons” officially ending when the last team is eliminated from national championship contention. The NIT, CIT and CBA are considered “ghost brackets” in TMM lingo. But I’m delighted UNC will, at worst, be playing in one such bracket, in part because that will give me an opportunity to try and persuade my NoCo followers to #FF my @brendanloy account! :)

Mar 11

Congrats, North Dakota State

NDSU vs IPFW Men's Summit League Basketball TournamentAbove: NDSU celebrates Taylor Braun’s brilliant game-clinching play. Photo credit: Inertia Sports Media.

Congratulations to the Bison of North Dakota State University, and to their loyal fans. NDSU is most certainly a worthy champion of the Summit League — even if I desperately wish a different team were hoisting that trophy:

Happy for #NDSU, and thought I was mostly over my @DU_MHoops #sadz. Then I saw this. :( RT @NDSUathletics: CHAMPIONS. pic.twitter.com/rJo3vRX4x7

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids) March 12, 2014

Notwithstanding my #sadz, I’ll be rooting for the Bison to make some serious noise in the big bracket. Summit League Represent! #AOUEOU!

Speaking of the big bracket… it’s officially up:

IMG_4097

Selection Sunday is almost here! Wheee!

Mar 10

It ends, again, with an awful loss

Florida International. Western Kentucky. Texas State.

North Dakota State.

NDSU vs Denver Men's Summit League Basketball TournamentDenver’s players can only watch as NDSU’s Carlin Dupree sails in for a layup. Photo credit: Inertia Sports Media.

I thought Denver had exorcised its conference tournament demons by defeating South Dakota yesterday, leaving only higher-seeded teams in its path. There would be no shame, after all, in losing to #1 seed NDSU in the semifinals, nor to #2 IPFW or #3 SDSU in the final. So the season might end in disappointment, I figured, but not ignominy.

I was wrong.

Losing to NDSU is one thing. Falling behind 30-9… and 48-15… and 71-30… en route to an 83-48 loss, in which NDSU put on one of the 5 (out of 10,000+) most offensively efficient performances by any team in any game all season… that’s another thing entirely.

bbstate-oppp

"I think we just ran into a buzz saw tonight," said head coach Joe Scott, and who can argue? If 1.551 points per possession (according to bbstate) isn’t a “buzz saw,” in basketball terms, then nothing is. And so let’s be honest: with NDSU en fuego like this (the Bison shot 73.9% in the first half!), there was probably no universe in which Denver was going to win tonight.

But of course, DU’s defense isn’t totally blameless in NDSU’s ridiculous statistics. (Another way to say “NDSU had the 5th-most efficient offensive performances of the season” is to say that Denver’s defensive efficiency ranked 10,354th out of 10,358 Division I games all season.)

bbstate-dppp

And regardless, the simple fact is that Denver was never, at any point, remotely competitive in this game. They came out ice-cold and flat, NDSU came out red-hot and energized, and that was that.

NDSU vs Denver Men's Summit League Basketball Tournament
Trayvonn Wright sets the tone with a putback dunk for NDSU’s first points, 19 seconds into the game. The Bison led from that point on. Photo credit: Inertia Sports Media.

It’s not as if the Pios fought and scrapped to stay within striking distance, despite NDSU’s undeniably hot hand, for 25 minutes or whatever, before finally being overwhelmed. No — Denver led, fell far behind almost immediately, kept falling further behind, and then, just when you thought it couldn’t get worse… it got much worse.

16-6 Bison, 12:37 1H. @DU_MHoops can’t afford to let this get out of hand. #Pios not built for comebacks. Shots not falling, though. #TMMX

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

30-9, 5:50 1H. Should I just start unpacking now? Ugh. I at least expected Denver to be competitive. #GoPios

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

38-14. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I’m turning off the TV & putting away phone. Will check back in after dinner, which @MileHighBecky is about to serve.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

42-15?!?

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

Dinner over. Debating whether to turn the TV back on.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

Turned on the TV… and it’s 48-15. #wut

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

Watching this game felt a lot like watching the Broncos in the Super Bowl five weeks ago. It was a disaster from the word “go.” You could have gone sharpie well before halftime. If Billy Packer had been doing color commentary, he would have declared that “this game is over" when Taylor Braun made it 33-11 on a three-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer with 4:55 left in the first half. And he would have been right.

Here’s the KenPom win-probability graph:

winprob

Quantitatively, the 35-point loss will go down as the second-most lopsided of the Joe Scott era at Denver. It easily surpasses the 30-point Moraga Massacre from this blog’s early days. Only a 38-point rout by South Alabama in Mobile back in 2008, before I started following Denver (indeed, before I lived in Denver) had a wider margin of defeat than this one — and only just barely, thanks to a garbage-time rally tonight, which brought DU “back” from a 43-point(!!) deficit with 5:37 left.

Qualitatively, in the four years I’ve been following Denver, I would rank this as their second-worst loss, trailing only the inexplicable, noncompetitive WAC quarterfinal pratfall against the #286 team in the country, Texas State, last year. And part of the reason that game felt even worse was because that Pios team had had a much better season, so the sense that their poor performance that day robbed them of something special was much more palpable. This year’s team, by contrast, was headed for a #15 seed at best if they’d won two more in Sioux Falls, and might conceivably have been Dayton-bound as a #16 seed at 17-14.

Instead, they’re, well, nowhere-bound. There will be no NIT (or CBI or CIT) invite for the 2013-14 Pioneers, who started the year ranked as a Top 5 mid-major in the country, and finish it with a 15-15 record against Division I competition. The final game in the DU career of the best player to wear the Pioneer uniform in recent history (if not ever), Chris Udofia, will be this 35-point disaster. What a shame.

Perspective: as much as this sucks for me as a fan, it sucks waaaay worse for Chris Udofia.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

I want to be clear about something: I’m not bashing the players. I’m not bashing anyone, or at least, that’s not my intent. I know those guys showed up at the arena today with a very, very different outcome in mind, and I know they wish things had gone differently about 1,000 times more fervently than I wish it. I’m not attacking anyone’s effort, or heart, or anything else.

That said, it’s an undeniable fact that four consecutive Denver seasons have ended in a crash-and-burn performance at the conference tournament. In the first three cases, the Pios lost to an inferior opponent. (Twice, those losses were noncompetitive. Once, the game went down to the wire, but it never should have been that close in the first place, given the caliber of opponent.) This time, they lost to a good quality team, but the way they lost was the disaster. I don’t know exactly why this keeps happening — although cold shooting early in games, leading to early deficits they can’t recover from, is certainly a recognizable pattern — but I know that this team, with this level of talent, should be able to do better. This is unacceptable.

I don’t have any answers. All I have is sadness, angst, and #sadz. Lots of #sadz.

Bust. #TMMX pic.twitter.com/jZ4noBP3kF

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

:‘( “@midmajority: Thank you Denver. We’ll miss Chris Udofia: http://t.co/gxLGMYL5Kf #TMMX pic.twitter.com/p1PAdccbD0

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

Reservation cancelled. Crazy trip to watch @DU_MHoops play in a league title game officially not happening. Again. :( pic.twitter.com/Grq1aYvieL

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

Isn’t there a @midmajority epilogue about how we fans can’t help but open our hearts again to hope each year? I *swore*, after Texas State…

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

I swore — to finish the thought — that I wouldn’t get so invested this year, given that Denver has yet to prove it can close the deal in postseason play. Here’s what I tweeted last March, in reference to both DU and my other (pre-Mile High Mids) favorite mid-major team, Gonzaga:

Denver’s loss to Texas State & Gonzaga’s loss to Wichita State both left me wondering how I’ll build up as much enthusiasm next time around.

— Brendan Loy (@brendanloy)
March 24, 2013

To which one of my followers astutely and accurately replied:

@brendanloy Hope springs eternal in November.

— Andrew Bolte (@albolte)
March 24, 2013

Indeed. And yet, even so, this year I was ever so slightly more guarded in my expectations and postseason dreams for the Pios, remembering how things had ended the previous three years. Even as I did the preliminary planning for a possible Sioux Falls road trip, I reminded myself that it probably wouldn’t happen, and kept my hopes in check.

But then Denver beat South Dakota last night. Even though that was the expected result (whereas a win over NDSU would have been unexpected), it was enough to obliterate what was left of the emotional guard that I had put up. As I packed my bags and built the digital infrastructure of an awesome road-trip adventure (that I dearly wish I was on right now, instead of writing this), I came to truly #BELIEVE. The giddy sense of inevitability grew when, this afternoon, the Denver women’s team (9-22) pulled their second straight upset to unexpectedly reach tomorrow’s Summit League title game:

IUPUI vs Denver Women's Summit League Basketball TournamentThe #6-seeded DU women celebrate after beating #2-seeded IUPUI. Photo credit: Inertia Sports Media.

@DU_WHoops CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! WOOHOO!! Now tell @DU_MHoops to take care of business vs. NDSU, so I can drive up & watch you both tomorrow!

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

I was totally all-in now. No emotional guard whatsoever. By the time I left work at 4:30 PM today to come home, I had, without fully realizing it, convinced myself that I would be going on a road trip to Sioux Falls tonight, and watching two Pioneers teams play for NCAA bids tomorrow. I still talked about the trip as a potentiality, but in my heart, it felt like an inevitability.

Which, of course, it wasn’t. Not even remotely. And, within minutes of tipoff, it became an impossibility. Hence all those “ughs.”

And so, here we are. The four-year mission of Mile High Mids is, so far as the Pioneers are concerned, over. Of course, there’s still the small matter of the Big Sky Tournament this Thursday-Saturday; the site and (especially) its Twitter account will remain active as long as Northern Colorado stays alive. After that, I’ll transition things over to @brendanloy and The Living Room Tumblr.

As for those eternal wellsprings of November hope? I’ll still fall victim to their siren song next season, no doubt, and the season after that one, and so on, and so forth. Hell, if the 9-22 Lady Pios can make the league title game, their male counterparts can surely follow suit one of these years. But it won’t happen while Mile High Mids is around to see it. And that, I guess, is probably the way it’s “supposed” to be in the Mid-Majority view of the world, even if it’s not how I wanted it to be.

I suppose @whelliston would say it’s fitting that @MileHighMids’ 4-year run following DU ends like this. Not quite the #fate I had in mind…

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

…but that’s the point, right? #Fate only seems like #fate on those rare occasions when it smiles on your team. This game will hurt you.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 11, 2014

It always ends in a loss. I just wish that could have happened after one more win. Or two. :)

Anyway, after the jump, the Storify archive of tonight’s live-tweeting.

Read More

Above: DU’s Cam Griffin shoots past USD’s Tyler Flack. Photo credit: Inertia Sports Media. Used with permission.
Well, we know this: for the first time since I’ve been following them, the Denver Pioneers won’t lose in their conference tournament to a lower-seeded team.
The #4-seeded Pios dispatched the quasi-homestanding #5 seed, South Dakota, 71-55 yesterday, to advance to the Summit League semifinals. Denver will be wearing its road jerseys the rest of the way, as tonight’s opponent is #1 seed North Dakota State, and then the winner of that game will play either #2 IPFW or #3 South Dakota State on Tuesday night for the conference tournament championship and NCAA autobid.
Yesterday’s contest was nerve-wracking for this DU fan, thanks to the mental mutterings of the Ghost of Conference Tournament Pratfalls Past, who kept frightening me with terrifying whisperings of doom: “Florida International…Western Kentucky…Texas State…” It was enough to make Jacob Marley cringe. As for me, well…

/pacing nervously in the middle of the living room
— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014


DU falling behind 7-2 didn’t help assuage my predisposition to #PANIC!! But the Pios quickly rallied to keep it nip-and-tuck throughout the first half, and eventually built a 6-point halftime lead. Denver’s edge stayed between 5 and 9 points for lengthy portions of the second half, which was just close enough to keep me nervous. I pined for a larger lead. But, as the clock kept ticking away, I allowed myself to consider that perhaps DU wouldn’t let this one slip away:

I! I AM! I AM CAUTIOUSLY! I AM CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC! I AM CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC THAT WE MIGHT WIN! #GoPios #TMMX
— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014


And indeed, when Brett Olson’s dagger put the Pios up 13, it was time to celebrate — and time to start packing for my possibly imminent road trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (I’m making the 10-hour-each-way drive from Denver if, and only if, DU reaches the title game…which means hitting the road promptly after a possible semifinal win tonight…which meant preemptively packing my bags last night after the quarterfinal win.)

@MileHighMids Time to pack, baby!
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner)
March 10, 2014

FINAL: @DU_MHOOPS 71 @SDCOYOTESMBB 55!!! BRING ON @NDSUMBB!!! #GOPIOS #TIMETOPACK pic.twitter.com/EJJdzIW4sU
— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014




The preemptive packing process continues. #SiouxFallsOrBust #GoPios #BeatNDSUSoIDontHaveToUnpackWithoutEverLeaving pic.twitter.com/nsH95K2OhZ
— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014
To be clear, the “preemptive packing” is a logistical necessity, not a sign of overconfidence. I recognize that Denver will be the underdog tonight against NDSU — and if they lose, I’ll have to unpack without ever hitting the road (just like two years ago). But, well, hopefully not! Let’s do this, Pios!
Below, a CoverItLive liveblog of my live-tweeting of tonight’s semifinal game — which may, just may, become a liveblog of a road trip to South Dakota for the Summit title game. Or not. We shall see. Then, after the jump, the Storify archive of yesterday’s live-tweeting.
 

// 
Again: after the jump, the Storify archive from yesterday.
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Above: DU’s Cam Griffin shoots past USD’s Tyler Flack. Photo credit: Inertia Sports Media. Used with permission.

Well, we know this: for the first time since I’ve been following them, the Denver Pioneers won’t lose in their conference tournament to a lower-seeded team.

The #4-seeded Pios dispatched the quasi-homestanding #5 seed, South Dakota, 71-55 yesterday, to advance to the Summit League semifinals. Denver will be wearing its road jerseys the rest of the way, as tonight’s opponent is #1 seed North Dakota State, and then the winner of that game will play either #2 IPFW or #3 South Dakota State on Tuesday night for the conference tournament championship and NCAA autobid.

Yesterday’s contest was nerve-wracking for this DU fan, thanks to the mental mutterings of the Ghost of Conference Tournament Pratfalls Past, who kept frightening me with terrifying whisperings of doom: “Florida International…Western Kentucky…Texas State…” It was enough to make Jacob Marley cringe. As for me, well…

/pacing nervously in the middle of the living room

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

DU falling behind 7-2 didn’t help assuage my predisposition to #PANIC!! But the Pios quickly rallied to keep it nip-and-tuck throughout the first half, and eventually built a 6-point halftime lead. Denver’s edge stayed between 5 and 9 points for lengthy portions of the second half, which was just close enough to keep me nervous. I pined for a larger lead. But, as the clock kept ticking away, I allowed myself to consider that perhaps DU wouldn’t let this one slip away:

I! I AM! I AM CAUTIOUSLY! I AM CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC! I AM CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC THAT WE MIGHT WIN! #GoPios #TMMX

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

And indeed, when Brett Olson’s dagger put the Pios up 13, it was time to celebrate — and time to start packing for my possibly imminent road trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (I’m making the 10-hour-each-way drive from Denver if, and only if, DU reaches the title game…which means hitting the road promptly after a possible semifinal win tonight…which meant preemptively packing my bags last night after the quarterfinal win.)

@MileHighMids Time to pack, baby!

— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner)
March 10, 2014

FINAL: @DU_MHOOPS 71 @SDCOYOTESMBB 55!!! BRING ON @NDSUMBB!!! #GOPIOS #TIMETOPACK pic.twitter.com/EJJdzIW4sU

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

The preemptive packing process continues. #SiouxFallsOrBust #GoPios #BeatNDSUSoIDontHaveToUnpackWithoutEverLeaving pic.twitter.com/nsH95K2OhZ

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 10, 2014

To be clear, the “preemptive packing” is a logistical necessity, not a sign of overconfidence. I recognize that Denver will be the underdog tonight against NDSU — and if they lose, I’ll have to unpack without ever hitting the road (just like two years ago). But, well, hopefully not! Let’s do this, Pios!

Below, a CoverItLive liveblog of my live-tweeting of tonight’s semifinal game — which may, just may, become a liveblog of a road trip to South Dakota for the Summit title game. Or not. We shall see. Then, after the jump, the Storify archive of yesterday’s live-tweeting.

 

Again: after the jump, the Storify archive from yesterday.

Read More

Mar 08

One day more…

After deep disappointment in 2011, agonizing heartbreak in 2012, and overwhelming dejection in 2013, I hope I can be forgiven for feeling a little bit nervous about tomorrow’s game in the Summit League quarterfinals between Denver and South Dakota.

Nervous about tomorrow evening. It can’t end for @DU_MHoops, not yet. Let’s do this. #GoPios #TMMX pic.twitter.com/W93DpD2NNY

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 9, 2014

Given the impending end of this blog, and my possibly-imminent 10-hour road trip that hinges on whether Denver wins tomorrow and Monday, the stakes are high for me personally, or at least they feel high.

If @DU_MHoops wins tomorrow, I pack. If they win Monday, I drive. If they win Tuesday, I float home on cloud 9. #TMMX #GoPios #IBELIEVE

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
March 9, 2014

In other news, the Northern Colorado Bears survived to play another day by winning at lowly Southern Utah this afternoon, thereby earning a spot in the Big Sky tournament as the #6 seed. It’s not exactly the situation UNC fans imagined in early January, when the Bears were throttling Weber State at home and emerging as the early favorite to win the league and host the conference tourney. But hey, at least they still have a chance.

#BigSkyMBB Thursday games at Ogden, Utah. 2 p.m. - UND vs. Sac State 4:30 p.m.: NAU vs. NC 7 p.m. - UM vs. PSU WSU bye to Friday semifinal

— Big Sky Conference (@BigSkyConf)
March 9, 2014

It’s the same situation for both the Pios and the Bears, really. Win 3 games and they’re in. (Lose 1 each, and Mile High Mids is over.)

But first things first. Go Pios! Beat the Coyotes!

Mar 07

Did Mile High Mids already end in a loss?

About two weeks ago, I announced that 2013-14 will be the final season for Mile High Mids (and @MileHighMids) as a separate entitiy. Starting in 2014-15, any blogging and tweeting that I do about college basketball will be folded back in with my regular Brendan Loy Tumblr and Twitter.

So, this blog’s fourth and final season — #MHM4, in Mid-Majority lingo — is drawing to a close. But has it already ended, in terms of me (and the Brothers #BALLZ) attending games? Was Northern Colorado’s 80-66 loss to EWU on February 27 (see below) the final in-person contest in Mile High Mids history?

IMG_3772

That depends on what happens in the Summit League tournament on Sunday and Monday.

I won’t be going to Ogden to watch Northern Colorado in the Big Sky tournament — for that matter, it’s an open question whether the once-league-leading, now-sliding Bears will themselves be going — and it’s highly unlikely that I would follow UNC to the Big Dance, if they were to somehow win the Big Sky title on Weber State’s home floor. Indeed, with my mom scheduled to fly into Denver for a visit during the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, there’s virtually zero chance that I, personally, will be “going dancing,” regardless of what DU or UNC does. Which means there’s only one remaining chance for Mile High Mids to cover a game in person: it comes down to whether I make a road trip to South Dakota next week.

If #4-seeded Denver can defeat the semi-homestanding #5 seed, South Dakota, in the Summit quarterfinals on Sunday (5pm MST tip), then turn around and, 24 hours later, upset #1-seed North Dakota State on Monday (another 5pm tip), I intend to hit the road for Sioux Falls Monday night, weather- and wife-permitting. The weather looks good enough, and I’m pretty sure Becky is resigned to the idea of me going, barring something unforeseen. So, it’s basically all up to the Pios.

What are the chances they’ll do it? Ken Pomeroy put a number on it this morning: he gives Denver a 21.7% chance of reaching the Summit League title game. (If they get there, KenPom’s robots see the Pios as having almost exactly a 50/50 shot at winning: he gives them an 10.8% chance of capturing the conference tourney championship & NCAA autobid.)

[NOTE: Numbers have been updated to reflect Pomeroy’s correction of a rare math error that I discovered, shattering my belief system in the process. :)]

What are the odds I’ll at least have to pack my bags and get ready for a possible trip? In other words, what are the chances DU will beat USD on Sunday and reach the Monday-evening semifinals, which would set up a 2012 redux scenario for me, with the necessity of packing for a trip I might not take?

The odds are 65.6%, according to Pomeroy’s Log5. So we’re talking about an almost 2-in-3 chance of having to pack, but a barely 1-in-5 chance of actually getting to make the trip (and a barely 1-in-10 chance of ultimate triumph).

But whatever. I believe the trip will happen. I believe Mile High Mids hasn’t ended with a loss yet.

I… I believe… I believe that we…

14_MBB_Bracket

Feb 26

“In the final season of the Mid-Majority, why not a 40-0 Wichita State team lifting a national championship trophy?” —

 —Ray Curren, The Mid-Majority, 2/25/2014

(And why not indeed? Dream big, Shockers.)

Feb 24

Sioux Falls or bust?

Regarding my (possible) travel plans for two weeks from tonight…

Just got approved for a @summitchamps media credential & booked a room at @HICityCentre Sioux Falls. Now it’s all up to @DU_MHoops. #GoPios

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
February 24, 2014

If DU makes Summit semis, I’ll pack my bags for a #roadtrip. If they *win* in the semis, I’ll hit the road. If they lose: unpack & stay home

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
February 24, 2014

Long-time readers will remember I had a similar plan — except that it involved a refundable airline ticket, instead of a contingent 10-hour road trip — two years ago (and two conferences ago), in 2012, when the destination was Hot Springs, Arkansas instead of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

With any luck, 24 hours from now, I’ll be 2 hrs into a flight from Denver to Little Rock. Just need 1 more @DU_MHoops win to make it happen.

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids) March 5, 2012

Preliminary packing for a trip I may or may not make. Not overconfidence; just limited time tomorrow if DU wins. @800GP http://t.co/kktEWDs9

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids) March 5, 2012

That trip came agonizingly close to happening, but didn’t quite:

See also here.

Hopefully, in this final year of Mile High Mids, my travel plans won’t end in a loss. Or in a blizzard:

This also assumes no blizzard between Denver & Sioux Falls 3/10-12, so I’ll start bugging @coloradowx & @BrendansWeather about that soon. :)

— Mile High Mids (@MileHighMids)
February 24, 2014

Go Pios! And Go High Pressure!