Billups: Pioneers ‘Close To Being Where We Should Be’

By Michael Spencer

University of Denver head basketball coach Rodney Billups joined CBS4 sports anchor Michael Spencer for Xfinity Monday Live at the ViewHouse Centennial on Monday.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Rodney Billups just finished his first regular season as head coach of the Pioneers and led the team to a 16-13 record including 8-8 in the Summit League.

“It has been outstanding,” said Rodney about coaching at his alma mater.

“We want to run and have some fun and be exciting and build this brand of this fun and electric basketball,” Billups said about changing the culture of Denver basketball from a slow-down Princeton style offense to an up-tempo style.

Denver Pioneers head coach Rodney Billups on Jan. 4, 2017 at Magness Arena. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver Pioneers head coach Rodney Billups on Jan. 4, 2017 at Magness Arena. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“We’ve had our challenges, but I think we’re getting there. You can’t tell from our last three games, but we’re so close to being where we should be and where I expected us to be,” said Billups.

The Pios ended the regular season on a three game losing streak and will begin the Summit League tournament as the 5th seed.

Their first round game will be a rematch of the regular season finale against South Dakota State University.

The Pios split the season series with SDSU, winning the first game 91-82, but falling in the regular season finale 88-64.

Denver Pioneers guard Joe Rosga (2) takes an off balance shot past South Dakota Coyotes forward Trey Burch-Manning (12) as the shot clock winds down Jan. 4, 2017 at Magness Arena. South Dakota Coyotes defeated Denver Pioneers 75-69. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver Pioneers guard Joe Rosga (2) takes an off balance shot past South Dakota Coyotes forward Trey Burch-Manning (12) as the shot clock winds down Jan. 4, 2017 at Magness Arena. South Dakota Coyotes defeated Denver Pioneers 75-69. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“It was a disappointing loss,” said Billups. “Once adversity hit, we didn’t keep competing.”

Billups hopes his team will learn from the loss and use it as motivation as they get set for postseason play.

“I’ve used it already a ton,” said Billups. “I’m just going to keep using it as ammo. Our guys know when they didn’t play their hardest. Our NCAA tournament starts now.”

Denver Pioneers forward C.J. Bobbitt (13) battles for the rebound with South Dakota Coyotes forward Trey Burch-Manning (12) and South Dakota Coyotes guard Triston Simpson (3) during the second half Jan. 4, 2017 at Magness Arena. South Dakota Coyotes defeated Denver Pioneers 75-69. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver Pioneers forward C.J. Bobbitt (13) battles for the rebound with South Dakota Coyotes forward Trey Burch-Manning (12) and South Dakota Coyotes guard Triston Simpson (3) during the second half Jan. 4, 2017 at Magness Arena. South Dakota Coyotes defeated Denver Pioneers 75-69. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver will take on South Dakota State at 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. If they win, the Pioneers will advance to the Summit League Semifinals on Monday, March 6.

Michael Spencer is a Sports Anchor at CBS4. Read his bio or connect with him on Twitter @MichaelCBS4.

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