North Dakota Schools DU at Magness Arena, 80-59

Photo: Courtesy of Georgia Peachy. 

Head Coach Rodney Billups said, “It was a piss poor effort.” He was right.

The day started with a Tory Stewart Miller migraine that kept him on the bench. But, the real mental anguish was experienced by the witnesses to this afternoon contest. A couple of stats say it all. Steals 11-0. Turnovers 18-8. Three-point field goals 15 to 7. 41% shooting to 48% for the visitors. Denver, now 5-13, was beaten in every way possible Saturday afternoon from start to finish.

Denver never led in this one.

The first half Denver gave up a whopping 44 points to a struggling Fighting Hawks team. Denver helped the visitors with 13 turnovers in the half, leading to 14 points. And North Dakota nailed eight 3-point baskets to build a huge lead. With all the giveaways, Denver could only muster 10 baskets in the half to finish with 25 points.

The second half was more of the same. Denver could not make stops and could not find net. With 8:32 remaining in the contest, a 3-point shot by Cortez Seales gave the Fighting Hawks a 30 point advantage. The highlight of the day occurred in the final three minutes when Coach Billups filled the floor with an all-freshman lineup of David Nzekwesi, Jacob Lanzi, Alperen Karnaz, Taelyr Gatlin, and Jase Townsend. They hustled after loose balls, played defense and looked like the best five Pioneers on the afternoon.

They may not be the ‘Fab Five’ – but let’s find out.

At this point, Denver has proven to be inept on both ends of the floor. Time to start and play the freshmen with nothing to lose because DU is already losing by 9.4 points-per game – and there is nothing to indicate that this will change anytime soon. DU is unable to make runs of their own or stop other teams on the defensive end. While playing ‘young’ doesn’t mean playing better, it still gives the five freshman meaningful minutes to see if they can grow together and are a good fit for the future. Unfortunately, the other parts of this roster are just not working and the prospects for this season are looking worse by the game.

Denver’s KenPom national rankings fell to #310 out of 353 schools.

8 thoughts on “North Dakota Schools DU at Magness Arena, 80-59”

  1. We can now put to bed the nonsense of ditching the Princeton style offense for this up tempo turnover machine. I am really tired of seeing posts related to the slow Joe Scott players. This team is an embarrassment. My guess is any of the 10 Joe Scott teams would smoke this team. So much for letting the Neff brothers go. This team has zero chemistry, that is on coach Billups. DU will never recruit the type of player you would need to run this type of offense, it is never going to happen. Back to the drawing board.

  2. Rodney is a delightful human, a truly nice man. Honest, straightforward. I can say nothing bad about him. I admire him. But it’s time to discuss his ability as a head coach at D1. This team is not working. It’s getting worse. I don’t know who else to blame. This season is cooked. We’ve seen a them or players not wanting to play for him. It’s looking like a time to go in another direction. No disrespect to the Coach and his character, but it’s not working

  3. Between this and the Western Illinois game we’ve now had 2 “never” type of losses this season, and a handful of other embarrassing but not necessarily egregious ones. Billups has lost the team. A bad team that gives it their all is much better than a talented team that lacks effort. If major strides aren’t made down the stretch here then DU really needs to do some soul searching about the future coaching direction of this team. We are regressing massively.

  4. Piss-poor, indeed.

    Clearly this team is regressing and it’s sad. After a pretty solid effort against USD, today was another poor-effort backslide into some deeper dog poop. Right now, DU is ranked #310 out of #353 D-I teams. That’s some really bad basketball, folks. This team can’t play defense right now and serves up more turnovers than a bakery on offense. It’s pretty unwatchable. DU hasn’t had a team this bad since the 4-24 team just before Joe Scott got here in 2007.

    While some may be calling for Rodney to be fired, I don’t think it will happen this year. Rodney signed a five-year deal, and he’s only in year three of it now, so firing him would force DU to eat at least two years of Billups’ salary, plus adding in the new money it would take to hire a new coach at what would probably a higher price. Plus, that would also send a terrible message to any new coach that Denver would up-and-fire you in year three, before you’ve even have a chance to cycle through your own recruits. No prospective coach, especially good ones, are going to want to come here under those kind of conditions. I think Rodney (and really all head coaches who follow the rules) should have a full chance to see what a full cycle of recruits can do.

    The reality is that right now, there are only about 1,000 to 2,000 people who actually care about DU hoops right now, and I think I’m being generous with those numbers. There is no serious media pressure in town for a coaching change. That kind of community indifference also probably acts as a buffer to buy more time for Rodney to turn things around.

    That said, I think we all can see that things aren’t working very well, including Rodney, and these are largely the recruits he brought in here. If Rodney is indeed in over his head, perhaps DU should try get more help to him now. Perhaps DU could get coaching/consulting guru to could come in, watch the film and practices, evaluate the true talent level and offer some Rodney some unbiased third-party advice about how he can improve this deteriorating situation…That would also show that DU cares about this program and cares about supporting a struggling coach…

    1. Agreed Puck. It would be very surprising to see DU part ways with multiple years left on the contract. I don’t think moving on at the end of the season is necessarily the right path (for the reasons you outlined). However the degree of failure this season with the level of talent they have is embarrassing. If DU was just a below average team that couldn’t reach the same bar as Joe Scott that’d be one thing and staying the course would be fine, but the problem is we have been so bad that DU is turning heads in the process. Getting blown out by any Summit team is bad enough but to get blown out by two bottom of the barrel Summit teams, with one being at home, can be very damaging to the program in the bigger scheme of things. The next couple of weeks will be very telling. If the team can rally to at least win a few conference games and stay competitive in most of them then so be it. If we get repeat performances like this then absolutely something needs to change (in what capacity I don’t know). I like Coach Billups and I want the man to succeed but there must be a standard for DU basketball and this aint it.

  5. When it rains, it pours.

    What to say? Yesterday was yet another chapter in this painful, agonizing, discouraging, season of men’s hoops. A 21-point blowout loss at home to a 6-9 UND team…..ugly. It’s a lost season at this point.

    As I said before, I really really wanted to see Billups succeed. I’ve been rooting hard for him. I’m sure everyone else felt the same way. But he’s guiding what seems to be a directionless and rudderless program. It’s dispiriting. I would like to see Ricardo Patton take over for the rest of the year. He’s a veteran coach and maybe as the man in charge could get this team going in a different direction.

    I live in the neighborhood and I know there are a lot of folks who would love to see and support a local college basketball program that’s relevant. There are fans to be had in the neighborhoods around DU. I’m not trying to say that this year we would have had 15,000 people banging down the doors for season tickets, but this team had an opportunity to galvanize the local fan base to a certain degree and get people excited about hoops. Tickets are reasonable, it’s a great family outing, and it’s a local team we could be proud of. But it hasn’t happened. And that’s a shame.

  6. The coaches certainly know what the issues are and I’m sure they are up late working on them.

    My hope is that they do peer out of the bunker long enough to know that there are all kinds of on-campus DU resources to help them improve, including some of the best coaches in the country in other sports, a graduate sports coaching program, an amazing psychology program and leadership programs, too. Once those are exhausted, we also have an NBA team in town, other D-I programs nearby, former coaches, etc.

  7. I just looked at where we rank in 3point defensive field goal percentage. 348 out of 351 teams as of Jan 1. We are bottoming out

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