Denver Men Must Sweep to Advance

After DU has gone through the worst men’s basketball season in modern DI school history, the eighth and final Summit League Tournament berth will go to either Omaha or Denver. The two teams face-off for a 2-game series Friday and Saturday at 4:00 pm to conclude the regular season.

Both teams stand 1-11 in conference play and both teams have a single win against North Dakota in conference play. A sweep by either team guarantees a trip to Sioux Falls for the winner. If the teams split the two games, which team goes to Sioux Falls and which team goes home?

According to the Summit League tiebreakers, if both teams end up 12-2, a tiebreaker would be based on RPI. In that case, based on the current ranking, the invitation would go to Omaha (#329 RPI) instead of Denver (#347 RPI).

Simply put, Denver must sweep Omaha at Hamilton Gym to earn a trip to the Summit League Tournament.

Summit League Tie-Breakers

  1. Results of head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
  2. Comparison of each tied team’s record against the team occupying the highest position in the standings continuing down through the standings until a team gains an advantage.
  3. When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group’s own tie-breaking procedure) rather than the performance against individual tied teams.
  4. If a tie still cannot be broken after applying criteria (1), (2) and (3), it will be broken by comparing each tied team’s RPI (based upon the Report issued on the morning following the last regular season League game).

8 thoughts on “Denver Men Must Sweep to Advance”


    2/25/21 Update

    The fact that DU must win both games this weekend against a terrible Omaha team to get the eighth seed in the Summit League is truly a joke and speaks volumes of how low DU has fallen. Their RPI ranking Is currently 347 out of 347. That’s right DU is DEAD LAST in the country . It is not an understatement to say that this has to be the absolute worst season in modern history (perhaps ever) for DU men’s basketball.

    At the conclusion of last year’s dismal season, I made the below blog post in which I called for the firing of Billups (See “Let’s Go DU- Men’s Basketball – 3/7/20 – “7 Thoughts on #8 Seed Denver Falls In Final Seconds”). I have again re-posted my original blog from last year in its entirety. One year later, the grounds for firing Billups not only remain the same but have since grown only stronger. What was said last year is even more so true today. It’s time that this mess is ended.

    It’s hard to imagine how long the season has become for its current players. The same empty post-game locker room rants from a failed leader, the long bus rides and useless practices. Knowing the season is in full collapse and the captain of the ship (who should soon lose his gig) is taking you to a land of loses has to be miserable.

    It’s hard to believe but DU hoops is now worse than they were one year ago as their record vs. D-1 teams stands at 1-17 with only 2 regular season games remaining. They are officially the laughing-stock of the Little Sisters of the Poor League (aka Summit League). At the end of last year’s season (2019-20), DU finished 336 out of 351 in RPI rankings with only 15 teams ranked worse. As noted above, This year, DU’s current national ranking places the team at 347 out of 347.

    Let that ranking bounce around in your head for a minute … You don’t have to be a Daniels Business School graduate to realize that last place in the entire country puts you in rarified air. It’s embarrassing, pathetic, sad, disheartening and devastating BUT apparently still “acceptable” to DU’s Athletic Department and AD Creech.

    In response to last year’s post, Puck (who I do respect and appreciate) essentially told all those people who were calling for Billups’ removal that we were misguided. Puck maintained that we needed to show patience and give young Rodney just one more season (which now makes 5) to develop his recruits and show his true merit. It was as if Billups had the team on an upward trajectory and DU hoops was about to breakthrough at any moment. So, we’ve patiently stood down and endured another year of misery watching the broken train go in reverse.

    Now I’m not one to usually say: “I told you so”. But in this case I’ll make an exception: “Puck, I told you so.” DUs “pretend-head-coach” should have been fired last year but instead DU’s Administration and its blind AD have continued to accept failure as an acceptable standard within its men’s hoops program. This is an insult to former players in the program and it’s few remaining boosters. It’s unclear to members within Colorado basketball circles why this woeful performance continues to be tolerated at a school with an otherwise excellent athletic program.

    In approximately 2 short weeks or less, the 2020-21 season will be over. Let’s see if the same lame excuses get made for Billups after this season as DU desperately tries to extend his contract for another season despite his atrocious performance. I’m sure part of the failure will be blamed on Covid – not poor coaching or poor recruiting. If that is the case – and DU keeps Billups yet again – DU officials can expect that its once proud and respectable men’s hoops program will continue to plummet to uncharted depths of futility, irrelevance, and embarrassment. And they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.

    It’s way past time for DU to make the obvious move and end this five year debacle involving incompetence on steroids.

    XXXXX Blog Post from 3/7/20 XXXX


    Definitely a spirited effort by the Pios at the Summit Tourney in their loss to N.D. State last night. Hat tip to the players’ solid effort.

    But again, same result – another DU loss leaving the team at a record setting 7-24 on the year. (In DU’s 73 year history of playing basketball dating back to 1947-48, DU’s loss count at 24 this year was the second most losses ever for the school in a single season. Last years 22 losses in the season was similarly historically bad).

    Now that the Season From Hell Part # 2 is over, it’s time for DU top leaders to face reality and pull the plug on the four year failed experiment otherwise known as “The Rodney Billups Clown Show.” Billups has run DU’s basketball program head first into the ground in his four years as its top coach. It’s time to move on. Any self-respecting Division One University could see a change needs made in its leader but I’m sure DU Officials will continue to bumble forward with the same lame excuses as to why they are keeping a perennial loser. (He played at DU, he’s a young guy still learning, his name is Billups, he’s from Denver etc)

    As a result, the men’s program will only continue to fall deeper into the abyss unless DU makes the needed decision ASAP to fire its under-qualified “head pretender” (aka head coach). Yes Chancellor Jeremy Haefner and Athletic Director Karlton Creech, I’m talking to you and calling you out. Please relieve Billups of his duties effective immediately and insert a competent, capable leader. Billups has already wasted DU’s precious athletic funds on poor recruits, incompetent assistant coaches and embarrassing results. By allowing Billups to continue on as the head coach in light of his record-setting failures (see below), DU officials might as well be slapping the faces of all of the other high-performing athletes and coaches in its other otherwise successful sports program (hockey, lax, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, golf etc). Hold Billups accountable as you would any other coach in your beloved sports program. After all, DU’s proudly boasts each year that it has won yet again the “Learfield Sports D-1 AAA Directors’s Cup” based on its athletic teams top finishes across the board. Why does DU’s athletic department have a separate expectation and standard such that it allows a highly visible sport like its D-1 basketball team to fail horrendously with no accountability to the head coach ? Why the double standard ? It’s offensive to the other sports programs at DU. DU Officials need to leave their ivory tower campus and air-conditioned offices of take a stroll in Colorado’s basketball community — a quick poll would reveal that DU’s program is viewed as a joke, and the laughing only gets louder so long as Billups remains as the coach.

    What is abundantly clear is that Billups’ first two years of mediocrity were based on the fact that he was running on the fumes of former Coach Scott’s successful program and solid talent selection. It’s undisputed that Billups managed to bat .500 in his first two seasons based on the fact that he still had Scott’s tough-nosed recruits and skilled players, along with a special big man named Daniel Amigo.

    Over the past two years however — after Billups ran off Scott’s remaining players and replaced them with 5th year graduate players and junior college transfers — Billups’ lack of coaching ability has been on full display. These past 2 years Billups has had complete ownership and control of the program. Based on the teams horrendous record these past 2 years, it’s painfully obvious now that he lacks coaching ability, is a poor recruiter, fails to discipline his team, and lacks leadership.

    Look at the facts from this just finished season. They don’t lie:

    This years team finished with an RPI ranking of 336 out of 351 teams. Put bluntly, only 15 teams sucked worse than DU. Such teams included Houston Baptist, Western Illinois, Incarnate World and Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Wow, DU is swimming with champions. DU’s team was ranked 318th in scoring defense this year almost identical to last years teams’ dismal performance. In other words, he’s a horrible defensive coach. His teams have never had any sustainable, consistent solid defense or recognizable identity as a defensive team. The bottom line, Billups is a miserable defensive coach. DU also ranked 306 in assists per game and 311th assist to turnover ratio. In other words, Billups offensive schemes are ineffective as his team does not share the ball efficiently; his team is undisciplined because they frequently turn it over; and they don’t get many assists because his offensive sets don’t work and/or his players are selfish. This year DU finished 323rd in three pointers made and the team ranked 230th in free throw percentage. In simple terms, Billups has not recruited good shooters and skilled players. At least you knew Coach Scott’s players could nail threes and knock down free throws – not Billups’ guys — bricklaying is their hallmark (Townsend excepted). Let’s not even start with his substitution pattern if you could call it that. Trying to understand Billups’ substitution pattern is like trying to predict what numbers pop up on the ping-pong balls during the Colorado lottery – totally random and irrational.

    I could go on but these simple statistics provide the proof … Billups is a poor coach and a poor evaluator of talent.

    Billups can’t blame his players as they are his handpicked chosen ones. During these past two failed seasons, Billups has had “his guys” “his recruits” “his type of players” for “his program”, “guys who play above the rim” and “his style of play … fast and athletic”. All descriptions used by Billups when discussing his players these past 2 years. Despite playing with his “own guys,” his teams have produced only 7 wins each season finishing 8th and 9th in the Summit League. Billups himself got rid of some of his prized recruits from his first recruiting class which he personally selected (Elijah Blake, Donovan Carlisle, and Elvin Rodriquez). How can he blame anyone else for these poor picks ? Billups himself gave them their scholarships originally. DU’s team did not have to be young and inexperienced this year. The lack of a solid junior class can be directly blamed on the head coach’s recruitment of these players in the first instance, and then his later decision to get rid of these players when he was unhappy with the team’s result. (Nice touch, blame your own players). DU’s lack of a strong upperclassman class was the direct result of Billups’ poor draft picks. In simple terms— Billups solely owns the teams’ recruiting blunders plain and simple.

    He can’t blame the assistant coaches — after all they were selected by him. In fact, if you look at Billups top two assistants over the past 4 years, they are all career losers to a coach. That is, if you looked at each of the coach’s records in their various college programs during their respective careers, they each have individually lost more games with their college programs than they have won. Yet, Billups chose to hire each of these assistants to guide and advise him. After last season, Billups even blamed two of his top assistants, Snell and Patton for his teams’ failure as he got rid of them claiming to DU’s Athletic Department that these coaches had a “negative vibe” and were a “poor fit” for his program. Yet, he was the one who hired them ! DU’s Athletic Director — yes that’s you Karlton – were fully supportive of Billup’s firing of Snell.

    Billups can’t blame the fans – they left the stands only after he put an inferior product on the court. And then mid-season this year, Billups chose to hide his losing product in the practice gym explaining to the public that “it was the players’ choice as they voted on it.” Put it on the players, nice leadership. Of course the truth is that nobody wanted to watch his team play his ugly brand of basketball this year as it raced to the bottom of the RPI rankings. The average attendance this year for home games was 990 (less than gymnastics drew and a substantial revenue drain for the school). This is hardly what Billups and DU promised its fan base 4 years ago when they hired him claiming he would fill the stands, bring energy and offer an exciting fan experience.

    He can‘t blame the refs — although he did try this year after a couple of losses when he publicly complained about his team not getting the calls and that his team lost the game due to poor officiating. Excuses, excuses….

    He can’t blame the athletic administration – they gave him this bonus year after they should have fired him last year based on his dismal performance. This year was his last chance to prove himself and show that the 2018-19 season was a fluke. Well it wasn’t. DU officials (and alumni) were simply fed more of the same this year. DU has continued to pay Billups’ lofty salary (third highest paid person currently on payroll at DU by one account) and stand behind their man. Even after the Athletic Department caved into Billups demands to give scholarships to JUCO transfers (atypical for DU and not allowed with the other sports teams) they were rewarded with lackluster results and all-time low attendance records. This performance would never cut it in the private sector but hey, apparently DU has money to burn and good-will to squander. DU appears fully content in tolerating losing seasons and deficient performance from its men’s head coach.

    Enough said. The decision that should be made and needs to be made is obvious. DU needs to hire a new coach before the signing season for spring recruits begins and before quality replacement coaching prospects are taken by other schools. Of course firing Billups and hiring a new leader is the correct and logical personnel move that needs to be made at this time. Unfortunately, it’s predictable that DU will unwisely continue to “shine on” its supporters and proclaim that theIr King is in fact wearing clothes. However, all of us in the Colorado basketball community who been exposed to DUs program during Billups’ reign know better.


  2. Since you called me out, I feel should answer for myself.

    Every coach, unless they do something illegal or seriously immoral, deserves the full term of their contract to prove if they can get the job done or not. A school upholding the full term of a coaching contract shows all future candidates that a school is operating fairly, and that makes makes a school a more desirablejob when it’s time to fill them. Schools that fire a coach before a first contract is over may be sending a message that you don’t get a full cycle at Denver to prove yourself, and that may eliminate a lot of candidates who might choose DU if they felt the school would give them a fair shake.

    Then, you either extend those contracts when things go well, or you end it when things go south. Colleges are not pro franchises, and I hope they never are.

    I was proud when Rod was hired. And I was proud to defended him, even while his program was struggling, because I believe that alumni hires also deserve extra consideration because they aren’t just mercenaries – they have bled for our school. Loyalty matters.

    Obviously, it looks like the end of the line is coming soon for Rodney, perhaps in a matter of a few days if the Pios lose to Omaha. #347 is simply not acceptable. I’m very sad that it isn’t working out for him. I’m sad for his players and the school and everyone who works for DU. No one wants to be worst in the country.

    And I think we’re all ready for a new direction for the program.

    But I make no apologies for defending the honor of DU, and for DU’s honoring its own contracts to its loyal employees, especially when they are alums.

  3. Puck I understand your point of view but respectfully disagree on the philosophy. It was clear a year ago that Billups wasn’t going in the right direction. We frankly had an embarrassing year LAST year and my concern at the time was that a similar year would set back the program enormously and potentially do lasting damage. I didn’t think it was possible to take a step back from an already bottom 5% program to now quite literally the worst division 1 team in the country. This is a good lesson in direct opposition to what you are arguing. There are certain things in life which are important to see through to the end. However staying on a sinking ship just for the sake of it or out of some misplaced loyalty is an easy way to drown. And drown the program has. The AD took your approach and now we will be lucky to become a reasonable Division 1 program by 2030. Again not attacking you, just pointing out the reality of what happened. That one year of taking the high ground probably cost about 5 years.

  4. I have no idea who this team even begins. Crappy conference, horrid reputation, lost season, no coaching staff. It’s like starting from scratch in a lousy recruiting market. What good player would want to come to DU? What coach would want to even try? I cannot see a path forward for DU as a basketball relevant school. Not in the next 5 years.

  5. Spot on Pio Truth. The continued rant that alumni should be given the benefit of the doubt or whatever is such bull crap and repeating it over and over on this blog isn’t going to make it smell any better. A bad coach is a bad coach no matter where he or she went to college.

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