DENVER - It didn't take long for Rodney Billups to have an impact at the University of Denver.
With just three games remaining on the schedule the Pioneers are playing some of their best basketball in years and currently sit in second place in Summit League standings.
In the three years prior to Billups taking over as head coach, DU went 44-48 and 21-25 in conference play. Their best finish in that span was fourth in the Summit League.
This year the Pios are 16-10 (8-5) and have a legitimate shot at not only winning the conference tournament, but the regular season title as well. Denver is currently a game behind both North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
Under Billups, all five players in their starting lineup have have increased their averages in points and rebounds per game. Junior center Daniel Amigo has seem the biggest improvement of any player.
Last year Amigo was averaging 2.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and just 5.5 minutes per game. This season he's averaging 24.5 minutes and is the team's leading scorer and rebounder with 15.7 and 7.4.
DU's final three games are against IUPUI 11-16 (5-8), Omaha 13-13 (6-7) and South Dakota State 18-10 (9-4).
If the Pioneers were to win their first Summit League regular season title with Billups in his first year at the helm it would be special. But if the former Pio himself led the school to it's first NCAA Tournament appearance in his first year, well that would be monumental.
(© 2017 KUSA)