Hoosiers fall flat at Wisconsin, 84-64

Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis could extend only one hand toward the basketball as it caromed off the rim, catching an ordinarily savvy rebounder off-balance.

It was just one defensive rebound missed, slipping off Jackson-Davis’ hand and out of bounds late in the first half. The 6-foot-9 freshman muttered a few words to himself, disappointed.

But in 20 minutes of ugly basketball where almost everything went wrong, that error wouldn’t be excused. It would be extraordinarily magnified.

Wisconsin’s Brevin Pritzl’s 3-pointer on the ensuing possession scorched the net, initiating screams and towel-waves from the Badger bench.

IU’s frustrations only deepened.

The Hoosiers went into the half down 20, and Saturday’s inevitable result, 84-64 at the Kohl Center — a place the Hoosiers still haven’t won since 1998 — served as a reminder of how far IU has to come.

“We had a quiet group today, all the way around,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “I gotta do a better job of finding ways and continue to get them to use their voices to each other and use each other and talk to each other, because that’s all you have on the road.”

IU (8-1, 0-1 Big Ten) didn’t guard particularly well. For the first time all year, the Hoosiers were out-rebounded. Offensively, the ball didn’t move, either, and a big shot to spark a comeback never came.

When they talked, it was during timeouts, pleading with one another to come up with an answer.

“We were searching for that breakout moment there early to get ourselves with our two feet back on the ground and everyone says ‘OK, we’re fine, we’re OK,'” Miller said. “We never really got there. That was a little frustrating.”

Eight straight non-conference wins to open the season were one thing. Bringing the same level of defensive intensity and offensive firepower onto the road, in a conference opener, proved to be another.

For the most part, the Hoosiers were dull and disorganized. The Badgers were fiery and free-flowing.

“That happens. You go through season after season, you learn about your group,” Miller said. “We’ve gotta become more of a grimy team on the road. At home, it’s easy, so to speak, when you are playing in that environment that we play in. But Wisconsin had that at their disposal today.

“I thought they were very confident, and we weren’t able to really punch back and throw resistance.”

IU was beaten in just about every category. On the boards, it was 29-28. Turnovers, 12-4. In the first half, IU’s 30 percent shooting contrasted with the Badgers’ 62.5, including six 3-pointers.

A squad that hadn’t produced more than 54 points in its previous three games had passed that total with a Nate Reuvers 3-pointer with 16:39 left in the second half.

“I just don’t think we were on the same page,” IU senior Devonte Green said. “We were giving up a lot of open 3s, especially. We could have been better at communicating.”

Kobe King, who scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half, was too quick off the bounce. Reuvers, who added 20, wasn’t just hitting from deep but posting up for effortless jump-hooks and post-up jumpers with his 6-11 frame.

While the Badgers played a beautiful brand of basketball, using the screen game and cutters to their advantage, IU’s guards were driving without stepping foot in the paint, throwing up forced layups that clanked off the rim’s side.

IU forced too much. Durham, who finished with a team-high 17 points, found himself on the sideline trying to rally the troops during timeouts, but his efforts were mostly ineffective.

“It starts from the top, I have to make it an emphasis for everyone to talk, and I’ll take responsibility for it,” Durham said. “And I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

IU just couldn’t stem the tide, which broke a winning streak. Wisconsin broke its own streak, a three-game losing skid, to claim a crucial win to open the conference season.

That’s not to say the Hoosiers quit. In the second half, the Badgers grew their lead into the 30s, but a 15-4 run by IU changed the mood a tad, cutting the deficit to 72-52 with 6:10 remaining. IU shot better in the second half (55 percent) to boost their overall percentage to 42.

Wisconsin (5-4, 1-0 Big Ten) was just too far out of reach, too hot after a rhythm was found early. The Badgers finished 53.6 percent shooting for the game, including 8-of-20 from 3-point range.

“We gotta keep grinding it out and we have to find a way to get them off track and get some stops and make it uncomfortable for them,” Durham said. “We tried, we played hard. We just gotta go back to the drawing board, forget what happened and learn from it.”


  1. This is exactly the type of basketball I enjoy watching.
    Some positive takeaways:
    1) When we were down 32 mid 2nd half, we did not quit and were down only 21 at the 8:48 minute mark.
    2) We played them EVEN in the 2nd half.

  2. That was painful to watch! One game does not a season make, but I have to wonder how competitive IU will be against the top Big 10 teams. IU does not have an outstanding point guard and that will come back to haunt them time and time again. Neither Green or Durham are great ball handlers or distributors. The jury is out on Phinisee. He will help with limiting turnovers but he does not have great speed. Let’s see how they rebound from this poor performance. We will have a better take on this team after a few more games.

    1. Rob “does not have great speed”, based upon what evidence: his first games as a freshman before the concussion? Lack of information, i.e. ignorance, is not a good vantage point. Let’s see when Rob can play. He will help this team!

  3. The only solace I have in the game is knowing that occasionally you get a turd in the punchbowl. Virgina lost by 30 at Purdue this week.

    But am absolutely horrendous performance from the Hoosiers. One of the worst games they’ve played in a long time. Embarrassing. We lost to a brutally bad team today.

    Harv nailed it. FSU was a little disjointed on offense. Our defense might have taken advantage of that fact. But Wisc was no offensive Juggernaut at 114th in offensive efficiency coming into the game. They made us look bad. We made them look like the Warriors.

    Let’s look at Brunk’s issues not just on offense, but also defense. He over hedges all the time, causing us to over help and a smart team just keeps moving the ball and getting it to the open lane. Wisconsin just skinned is alive.

    Does anyone realize that Indiana hasn’t won in Madison for two decades? What’s the lowest streak Indiana had versus Wisconsin in the past at assembly Hall? I bet this might exceed it.

  4. That was pitiful. Ready for FSU, but not looking ready for B1G physicality and half-court sludge ball and obviously not yet capable of being competitive on the road against solid teams. I was hoping defense was on the verge of a breakthrough under Archie. But just same old same old so far.

  5. This game was kind of a dud all the way around. I sat & watched with very little emotion. Wisc hit a bunch of shots & we just kept playing like it was a pick up game. They spread the floor, drove, dished and shot at will. I think they had only 4 TOs which speaks to our defense being defunct, which will get their attention in practice tomorrow.

    Even THEIR crowd was quiet. Beating IU is a given up there these days. 21 yrs & counting we haven’t won there. Knight was still coach for our last win.

    Hunter is lost out there. Just a mess. I had high hopes that he would contribute but now I doubt it. Brunk is just size & toughness & very little talent. Definitely need Phinesee back.

    1. I totally disagree on Jerome! He is improving! He is a half step slow on defense and not hitting his 3’s. But his improvement is obvious. He did not play basketball for one year. What did you expect?

      1. Totally agree Hunter is making progress. Like his attitude. Eager, engaged and doesn’t back off. Another 40 days and he’ll offer good minutes in support

  6. Decades old annual embarrassment. There is no upside to this. The football domination is one thing, this continuing saga is inexcuseable. Soft, juvenile performance. Miller’s back to 7th grade basketball.

  7. I was not despondent at all! I enjoy watching good basketball, refereed fairly. We don’t get that with our Home games because every time an opposing player gets near one of our stars a foul is called. Only at away games do we get to see Big Ten basketball, and it’s a wonderfully entertaining product. Some on this (great) site had commented that we’d be in a rude awakening when we left our home(r) court and played Big 10 competition. I was not of that opinion (though I had initially predicted an N.I.T. berth for this squad). I had gotten excited about the posts and H4h’s enthusiasm about liking this team! And I still DO like this team!!! They fought back from 30 down and showed life and I did not see the finger-pointing accusations of past seasons. This team (so far) looks like it enjoys playing basketball together. It’s a long season and though t (small t) had suggested we simply win all our games, that’s not what happened. Let’s see what occurs from here on out. We sure have room for improvement! Let’s see if we DO improve!!!! I sure do enjoy watching Wisconsin Basketball. Ever since the Bo Ryan years this team plays basketball, Team Basketball, like it should be played. Fun.

  8. Archie’s team got exposed Saturday. That was simply terrible. Due to the ridiculously soft schedule in the first seven games, I expected IU to lose its first road game, but not that badly. This game was embarrassing.

  9. December used to be a time for ‘Holiday Classics’ and allowing young athletes a bit of time with family. The month of December(heading into semester breaks and holidays..including, sometimes, holiday blues) probably isn’t the best time to engage the methodical and robotic Wisconsin Badgers.

    It’s all about dollars, folks. Moving up the BigTen schedule, expanding schedules, etc.
    Double Down pointed out the huge upsets that have already taken place(Duke and UK both losing at home)…Kids have a lot on their plate. They have family pressures and classroom pressures just like everyone else.

    I wouldn’t make too much of this “embarrassment.” Our schedule sets up pretty nicely this year. Our team has a lot of new pieces to figure out…They’ve been fueled by home crowds and have some growing pains to get through.

    I do worry about mental toughness and leadership….Don’t see any singular guy on our roster taking hold of the role. Collective leadership or ‘by committee’ can easily turn into passing the buck…and more ‘disjointed’ play/results. There is talent on this roster…but cohesiveness is lacking at the moment. Roles not completely defined.

    Is there any team in college basketball with more guys who look like douchebags than Wisconsin? Yes, Duke….Sorry for answering my own question. Anyone watch the HBO series, “Euphoria?” Micah Potter(grad transfer from OSU) on Wisconsin bench vs. this fictional douche? YoU MaKE tHe CaLL!

  10. “The game just ain’t good looking when you’re not enjoying that good home cooking”

  11. I was not surprised to see this loss in this manner. Since 1998, there have been supposedly better IUBB teams than this having similar results. You have a relatively young team just coming together, on the road for the first time, at a very hostile environment historically unfriendly to IUBB, what else could you expect?

  12. Expect lots of big ten losses. Post game AM would be better served answering questions yes and no. Rather, it was like him lying on a couch in a psychiatrist office explaining his team and game. It was easily seen what happened. No explanation needed. Nice clean cut guy. Maybe, just to nice. That’s who some comfortably we’ll paid guys are. Just thankful good guys.

    1. Can Archie Coach IU to a 5-5 away record in the B1G in his 3rd year? If he can’t, then IU is in trouble!

  13. Is Archie a “nice guy?” (He’s most certainly clean cut, I like his appearance and feel it represents us well). But how do we ascertain whether he’s a “nice guy?” I ask that because when our Freshman with the hyphenated name allowed that Happ move (after another Wisconsin player scored over him at the rim), Archie sort of used his hands in a “Moses” way (uplifting them to the sky) as he yanked our Freshman out of the game. This type of frustrated gesture, in the “traditionally hostile” -though relatively silent– atmosphere of the Kohl Center does NOT represent us well. It’s like Archie was blaming our Freshman for …I don’t know…. not trying? Was he urging “more effort”? Is THAT the level we are (still) at? Hoping for “more effort” from our players?

    I’ve posted about this before, but as you may or may not recall, prior to the Princeton game, those Princeton players came out energized and in the warm-ups looked like the were trying to pull down the rim, dunking on it ferociously. (Princeton!). I was thrilled watching them, as I enjoy “effort”. Our players sauntered out like they were factory workers putting in another shift. Not surprisingly, Princeton (!) took it to us in the 1st half and only because we had 8 players on the court (3 were wearing stripes) did we go into halftime with a slight lead.

    Maybe it’s all this “Basketball Country” B.S. that puts into our players’ heads that they are ALREADY great that they simply don’t put forth the ……shall I label it “verve”? to act like they need to prove something. Like they belong out there! Like they deserve to win the game with their EFFORT, and not because they get the call.

    Do not mis-understand! I am not criticizing our players, or our Coach! I am PUMPED for this Connecticut game, because we will be playing elsewhere and against guys from New York or whatever. From what I’ve seen from Eastern players, they can’t shoot either so it will be a slugfest around the rim and let’s see if we are “nice guys” or can fight. I am excited about the future and this next (conn)test.

  14. Killer, fighter instinct teacher vs kinda laid back teacher and though wants to win takes things as they come. If wins come = pay raise and contract extension. If they don’t; take services elsewhere.

  15. In somewhat lengthy post game yes, AM was talking about more effort and communication. AM also notes how well other teams play and IU can be a good team. I think it is deeper than that. That is his standard post game interview. It’s beginning to age.

  16. You know the one thing I see about the constant whiners is their lack of historical perspective. It doesn’t matter whether it is the last 30-50 years or the last 5 years, no historical perspective. In the last 5 years the closest thing we have seen to a dynasty comes from Villanova. It too Jay Wright 15 years to get to his first championship. What is not talked about is his first 3 years produced very Archie like results thus far.

    I look at the Virginia program a lot because they utilize the Pak Line defense as well. It took Tony Bennett 10 years to get Virginia to a championship and along the way had to endure the humiliation of being the first #1 overall seed to lose in the round of 64. Just in case no one has looked, The first couple years Bennett was at Virginia, he produced very Archie like results as well. The moral of the story is the reason why so many schools never succeed is in their failure to be patient while their coach installs new systems and cultures to their programs.

    If you don’t believe this, check out the Nebraska football program since Tom Osborn. It is a textbook case.

    1. Sorry there are too many close examples of good hires producing great results in 1-2-3 years for the “patience” sermon: OH St, MI, Louisville, Xavier, even Butler!

      1. . . . and BP!!!

        Exactly what is the combined total of banners these 5 programs have produced in the last 10 years???

        I am becoming more convinced there is a significant segment of Hoosier Nation who would trade more banners for consistent 25-30 win seasons. I suppose it sounds better when talking to their non-Hoosier Nation buddies about the great season that just couldn’t quite bring home the banner, than to endure the growing pains of actually getting there.

  17. Without wanting to get into the ‘too negative’ trap, I do think much of the disjointedness and dysfunction of any team under a new regime is because some guys are still feeling a certain amount of abandonment (which often turns into aloofness) due to the coaching change.

    We can’t fully judge Archie Miller until every kid recruited by Tom Crean has retired his candy stripes. Some personalities you simply can’t change or fix.
    There was a lot of ‘big man on campus’ syndrome in the personalities of Crean recruits. I’ve noted the laughing on the bench in the closing moments of last year’s NIT loss on our court. It wasn’t a good look….and it’s appearing to have carried over. Give Archie the same time and courtesy you gave Tom Crean…Decimated is a very subjective term.
    To take over a program is sometimes easier when the house has been cleaned. It’s almost more of a convenience to kick all out the door as if they were damaged goods…than to work with guys a bit lost of their mentor/coaching bond and are left behind as something closer to half damaged goods the new coach must try and transform.

    Green, Durham, DeRon Davis, and, to some extent, Phinisee were not Archie Miller recruits. They are fine men, but they may not as easily transformed to the demands, work ethic and style Archie is eventually working toward.
    Lastly, finding an elite point guard is a major task for any coach. None was left for Archie. The cupboard was bare. And double lastly, Romeo bolted. This team could have benefited enormously if he would have stayed to mature his college game and grow his talents into a true leader of candy stripes. Sure could have used his scoring capabilities and the multi-dimensional roles he could play in our backcourt.

    Archie is only beginning his 3rd season…Regime change is difficult whether on the heels of a recruiting scandal…or parting ways with a very substandard coach whose mojo was fading to the degree of cue cards used for instruction.

    If you made it to this final sentence, BRAVO!

  18. One thing the “whiners” acknowledge that you and others seemingly do not is that this sort of flat, uninspired effort is becoming commonplace for IU under Miller. So, why do you believe that his teams continue to not play hard for him in far too many situations, and why would you call people who point that obvious fact out “whiners”?

    1. BD,
      You’re more insightful that this! Go back and look at Wright and Bennett’s first few years at their schools. In some cases they had worse results, some would even say they were playing flat and uninspired ball. Both coaches had to institute their systems and culture into the programs before they could turn them around. Let’s remember these 2 schools combine for 3 of the last 4 championships. When the fast turnaround artists start producing banners, I will re-evaluate my position, but until then, these are the results. A lot of sizzle, but no banners.

      1. No, I never once saw those comments attributed to either Bennett or Wright. Not once. But I understand why you’d rather create a diversion with your comparison then provide an answer to the question of why IU, under Miller, has a reputation for these kinds of uninspired performances.

        1. I’ll offer some explanations. No point guard when Archie arrived. Great point guards are damn hard to find. Archie had a very bare cupboard in terms of leadership and point guard play.
          Romeo bolted. More bumps in the road. Phinisee not reliable as he seems to be the Michael Penix of Hoosier Basketball. Still have growing pains with guys on the roster Archie didn’t recruit(some sort of athletic experiments and some of which enjoy giggling and smirking on the bench while we are getting our ass kicked in an NIT game in Skjodt Hall).
          Regime changes take time…especially following the love fest and negative press of a wrongfully fired preacher who was in Bloomington for a decade. Are you going to give Archie a decade?

        2. Not going to argue with you BD, but you might want to do a little research on the early years of both Bennett’s & Wright’s tenures. We don’t need to carry the discussion on any further, but the early years were hardly pretty pictures for either coach. Lot’s of personnel issues in both programs which they had to clean up.

          1. I don’t doubt there were issues, I was just questioning the analogous claim you made which was obviously embellished, at the very least. Also validates why you’ve continued to avoid answering the question I posed.

  19. Think ..I believe you to be in the right direction; but I believe it to be a generational/ cultural problem. Going back to RMK , Keady, Heathcoat, even Digger Phelps; coaching attitudes were “my way or highway” discipline. After RMK’s firing we see a BOATLOAD of coaches that responded to Administration wishes who were bowing to Parental concerns…laid back( Laizze Affair) coaching style (cue mike davis) then you get Kelvin Sampson that “instant gratification” coaching (winning at all costs). Now comes CTC with his preaching and Lord knows he couldn’t draw up and out of bounds play. Starting to come full circle again (at least with coaches) Kids still looking for that McDonald’s Fix to winning basketball glory. The uninspired play is evident with Kentucky and even Duke this season. The hard work it takes to succeed hasn’t dawned on them yet. The “one and doners” are in competition with European players and the NBA seems to have fallen in love with “Euroball” (everyone shoots a 3 pointer).What American teens seem to forget is that the European players have been playing European Pro Ball since age 16 (Cue Ricky Rubio) so they are alreay behind the NBA power curve. NBA teams willing to draft one and doners and lose for 3 years then draft a European player to match the 3 yr. rookie. How does AM motivate? same question parents have asked them selves on getting their children to do their homework. Motivation comes from inside you cannot motivate anyone or thing that doesn’t want to be …Ask any farmer with a Missouri mule. best we can do is be patient with AM and continue to support HIM ..with our support then the kids KNOW this is a program run by the Coach and not the players.

  20. I deeply resent the Wisconsin players being referred to as “looking like douchebags”, even though it was followed up by a reference to Duke being douchebags (which I have no problem with, since I loath Duke and any vulgar reference is appreciated).

    so..it’s not the vulgar name-calling that I resent, it is that the Wisconsin players are referred to in this manner. Here is how I saw it:

    The Wisconsin players are most certainly not a Really Talented group. But they CAN shoot the basketball (against us), and they took their shots within the framework of their offense. The big kid turned and faced the basket and shot a 15 foot shot like I.U. players USED to be able to do: with confidence that it was a move he’d worked on. Later, the big kid was outside and shot the 3 with confidence. The other big kid shot a poor 3-pointer early but then took 2 more in the flow of the offense and hit them like it was no big deal.

    And on defense they played team defense and played it hard. When there was a stoppage in play, Wisconsin’s team came together as though they enjoyed each others’ company and were on the Same Team and FIGHTING for the W I N. THAT is what I like to see when I watch Basketball, not some NBA crap, not some highly talented NBA wannabe playing that style to get INTO the NBA..but a group of kids coming together as a TEAM and playing a game to win it, in a stadium where the refereeing is fair and consistent for both teams.

    I don’t see that with I.U. Basketball at Assembly Hall, and I have not seen that with an I.U. team for many, many years. So..while I’m most certainly still a fan of IU Basketball, I appreciate other teams and resent them being denigrated (unless it’s Duke).

  21. I don’t think anyone is talking about IU firing Archie, but I agree with BP’s comments above. IU fans do have the right to expect significant improvement from Archie’s third-year team, and we do have the right to expect that this team would not “soil” the bed in its first Big Ten road game. As BP points out, there are too many examples of other second and third-year coaches producing excellent results in the same amount of time. Look at OSU! Look at Louisville! And there are other examples. IMO, no matter how good a coach’s scheme is, if he’s not signing enough of the right talent, the scheme is not going to produce enough wins. My biggest concern about Archie is that he’s struggling to recruit enough talent to get IU to where he wants it to be. It’s well documented. With IU’s history, facilities and fan support (passion), IU should be able to sign a top 20 recruiting class every year. We’re not!

    So we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now and hope Archie has the same trajectory that Bennett had at Virginia and Wright had at Villanova. Bennett went 15 -16 and 16 – 15 at Virginia in his first two seasons while Wright went 19 – 13 and 15 – 16 at Villanova. But both coaches produced significant improvement in their third seasons at those schools. And both coaches lead their teams to the Sweet 16 in their fourth season at those schools. IMO, IU needs to win 23 games this year and make it to the NCAA. If Archie doesn’t achieve that level of improvement, then the comparisons to Wright and Bennett will turn against him. I guarantee you this; Archie does not have ten years to return IU to elite status! For a school with IU’s history and passion for BB, it just should not take that long.

    1. L’ville and Ohio State comparison to IUBB is a flaming typecast of apples to oranges. I actually give Coach Miller 2 Mulligans for seasons 1 and 2. Both for differing circumstances.

  22. Honestly believe Phinisee would have made a positive contribution last night as he would greatly bolster D and allow Al and Green to be at their natural positions and played limited at point.

  23. I believe most Hoosier fans agree with you, HC. I do! The reasons for IU’s last two-sub-par seasons were not Archie’s fault, especially last year’s record that was so obviously affected by the unprecedented series of injuries to key players. And we can see the affect that Archie has had on many of this roster’s players. Green is like a different person on the court this season! But that’s why I’m concerned about Archie’s recruiting. It’s not his scheme or his ability to develop players, the issue appears to be his recruiting.

    Two recruiting classes can transform a college BB program. Two recruiting classes for a historic program like IU SHOULD transform the program. IU’s 2018 recruits were not Archie’s recruits. But he owns the 2019 and 2020 recruiting classes, and while they include some good talent, I don’t think it is enough to transform IU from middle of Big Ten pack to top of Big Ten. According to most of the BB recruiting “experts” and data bases, with the exception of two players, Archie has failed to sign his most coveted recruiting targets in the 2019 and 2020 classes. And it is most obvious with the Bigs. Brunk was a solid addition, but he’s not going to dominate, outscore or out-rebound most centers in the Big Ten conference.

  24. Talk to Romeo….When ‘transformational’ recruits stay, they can certainly elevate results in a hurry.
    Crean got Cody for two season(though three or four would have potentially resulted in even better results). Without one recruit, Crean doesn’t even have the Big10 competitiveness or those lovely Sweet 16 appearances (a very low bar of success in March Madness compared to ‘Conference Midwest Elite’).
    One recruit can be truly transformational….Crean had one or two combined with multiple projects and failures(some of which were not even worthy of Division 1 skill sets).
    Let’s get real…Without Zeller, most of Crean’s recruiting was a more hit and miss than anything Archie has done. Gotta give him a chance to build even more momentum in-state and build a roster totally of his own choices.

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