The tie wrapped around Curt Miller’s neck hung loose — about an inch below his collar — as it usually does in the minutes after a game. He hunched over the dais in the Assembly Hall press room, thumbed through a book of stats and explained why Thursday’s 61-43 loss to No. 23 Michigan hurt a little more than most this season.
It wasn’t for a lack of effort or preparation. No, effort and preparation were on full display and, more importantly, to Miller’s liking in the days leading into the Michigan game.
Rather, it was a lack of talent, particularly on the offensive end, that did in the Hoosiers once again during the Big Ten season. Indiana’s two starting post players, Linda Rubene and Simone Deloach, combined to go 1-for-14 on the night, while the team as a whole produced only eight points in the paint.
It’s a scenario and a result that Miller is slowly, begrudgingly, growing used to this year. It’s also something that has Miller, he of 268 career wins in 12 seasons, looking toward the future.
“We don’t have kids that came out of high school as big-time scorers,” Miller said after Thursday’s game. “We have kids that played hard (in high school) or were good at rebounding or were good defenders. We don’t have a lot of kids on this roster that we’ve inherited that were just prolific high school scorers. That’s just not what they’ve been considered. That’s not what the former coaching staff went out and was attracted to.
“I’m attracted to shooters, and this program will change that way. We may not be as big, we may not be as athletic and we may be sitting here next year and the years after complaining about rebounding or complaining about something else, but we will not be complaining about people who can make shots three or four years from now. We’ll have a lot of kids that can make shots. Can they do other things? That will be the question. But we’ve got to be more confident. We’ve got to step up and want the ball and make shots.”