IU downs No. 11 MSU, 67-63

The long arm of Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis swatted away a lob off a drive from Cassius Winston, sending the Spartans’ last chance into the air on a ricochet.

It came into the hands of Xavier Tillman, who had the rim clear for a putback. But this wasn’t the Spartans’ day. Or their home.

Just as they did to the then-No. 11 Buckeyes a dozen days earlier, the Hoosiers (15-4, 5-3 Big Ten) once again downed the No. 11 team in the country in its visit to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. This time it was the No. 11 Spartans who fell, 67-63, as Tillman’s putback Thursday went onto the rim and spilled out.

Michigan State’s junior forward grimaced, clenching his teeth as the game slipped away. Jackson-Davis, the 6-foot-9 freshman, came down the floor boisterous, his arms triumphantly in the air.

“I think we have a lot of belief in each other and belief in what we’ve been doing since we’ve been here this summer,” said junior forward Joey Brunk, who led the Hoosiers with 14 points. “We weren’t going to quit fighting.”

Big play after big play gained the Hoosiers another signature win on their home floor, including a clutch 3-pointer from junior guard Al Durham with 1:52 remaining to create a 63-60 advantage.

It was a theme. In a first half where a myriad of Hoosiers made contributions, Durham ended it just as he started, smiling as he breezed down the floor with a hand in the air.

This time, he held up three fingers, celebrating a clutch 3-point shot to restore a seven-point lead going into the locker room. Durham had only two other points in the half, but they were equally crucial, breaking the rim’s seal on the very first possession, providing the foundation for the Hoosiers’ confident early run.

In a game that inevitably came down to the wire, the maturity of the Hoosiers shined through. This was a triumph far removed from the close losses and disappointments IU suffered last season. Those trials, in Durham’s eyes, taught the Hoosiers valuable lessons.

“Just to not give up, not to cave in,” said Durham, who provided 11 points, all pivotal. “Those Ls, we took those, we saved them and we learned from them. Now I feel like they are coming to the light, basically.”

The first half was Indiana’s by as many as 15 points, partially because Michigan State (14-5, 6-2) missed eight of its first nine shots, partially because IU’s defense was more suffocating with hard hedges against the Spartans’ ball screens. The Hoosiers’ hands were on more loose balls, especially a scrappy Race Thompson in the post.

IU’s confidence was rising, and the Hoosiers’ shots were falling, at a 50-percent clip in the first 20 minutes.

Of course, the No. 11 Spartans weren’t going to wither away. The visitors went on a 14-2 run to shrink the lead to three, sitting at four away before Durham’s 3 to end the first half. Their shooting strokes restored, Michigan State was everything it was billed to be.

After going without a 3 in the first 20 minutes, the Spartans hit six in the first 10 minutes of the second half, including a pair from Gabe Brown and a trio from Winston. MSU’s lead guard was 2-of-6 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, with just a pair of assists, mostly neutralized.

“Cassius Winston, having the ball in his hands, we really tried to make an impact on him, because when he gets downhill, inside the key, it’s really hard to stop,” Jackson-Davis said of the Hoosiers’ hedges.

Winston came alive, though, as the Spartans claimed a 51-48 lead with 11:06 remaining, their first edge of the contest. One piece of the Hoosiers’ first-half mix, Thompson, was sidelined with a lower back injury following a hard fall to the floor late in the first half.

“I thought Race Thompson was unbelievably good in the game. He played his tail off,” IU coach Archie Miller said, adding he believes Thompson will be day-to-day after experiencing some stiffness on the bench. “His best game as a collegiate player.”

But the Hoosier backcourt responded in the clutch, namely Durham. Once freshman Armaan Franklin hit a 3-pointer to knot it back up at 51, Durham sliced to the rim for a drive, taking hard contact as he laid the ball in. The junior landed on his feet with some anger, wanting a whistle.

But he came back for more, getting to the line for a game-tying free throw. On the next possession, Durham found Jackson-Davis rolling to the rim to give the Hoosiers back the lead, 56-54.

“It just felt like at the end of the game, he was the most comfortable to have the aggressiveness to make a play, to get to the basket and score,” Miller said of Durham. “For Al, comes every day, goes to work, never says a peep. To see a guy get rewarded with a couple going down like he had, it’s always rewarding.”

It would be back and forth from there, the crowd hanging on every basket and every whistle. Durham’s 3 to give the Hoosiers’ a three-point lead with just under two minutes left brought another three fingers to the air and the crowd to its feet.

Rob Phinisee, who kicked out to Durham on that 3, made another aggressive drive to the rim, taking contact. The ball spilled out to Joey Brunk, who laid it in to pad a 65-62 cushion.

On the other end, Winston missed the front end of a trip to the free throw line, sending a charge into the crowd as a two-point lead stayed intact with 43 seconds left. The ball was back in Winston’s hands on the final possession, and the Hoosiers were switching everything on ball screens.

That put Winston against Jackson-Davis, who showed off his ability to stay light on his feet, coming away with a game-saving deflection.

“Trayce can really, really move,” Miller said. “When he motors and he wants to and he knows what he’s doing in terms of being engaged on things, you won’t see a big guy cover more ground and move like him. It’s one of his great gifts.”

33 comments

  1. I’m really proud of this team and their effort tonight. They were not going to be denied. They withstood all of the things that have plagued them in the past. Went out to a big lead, lost it, and fought to get it back. The effort tonight from the entire team was purely awesome. Even Green played hard despite playing ‘subpar’. The front line owned theirs. Kudos to Brunk, Trayce, Race, & Justin. Also a real solid game from Phinisee and Franklin, I thought, holding their own and playing about as good of defense as you can play against them.

    When you look at the box score, it is quite telling of how we won this game despite them hitting 9 3’s to our 4, and us missing 9 FTs.
    Offensive rebounds; 10 IU, 5 MSU. How many teams do that to MSU?
    Total rebounds; 31 IU, 29 MSU. Ditto!
    TOs: 8 IU, 13 MSU. Wow, who saw that coming?!?!

    Possessions, Possessions, Possessions! Value the basketball. And we did tonight with incredible effort.

  2. Now that’s an IU home-game crowd I used to know!. That’s the Hoosier Nation expressing itself and giving the boys a lift. That was awesome to see. We need that crowd support for every home game. I hope several recruits were in the stands to witness that.

    Great win for IU, I believe that’s three times is a row in which IU has beaten MSU.

    Better ball control, tenacious defense and a great crowd in Assembly Hall won this game tonight. Only eight turnovers and superior rebounding was the difference. God knows it wasn’t IU’s 3-point shooting (33.3%) or free throws (55%). Goodness this team is terrible shooting free throws!

    Now we have to show it was not a fluke by beating Maryland. If we do that, this team should make it to the NCAA. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. Great win by the Hoosiers!

    Dare we say this team is finding itself and their identity? Not many teams can shine the glass like Indiana did vs Michigan State. They played tough and were in great position all night.

    Defense is really starting to click. Especially in transition. The substitutions are tightening and it’s no surprise the packline is starting to produce fruit.

    Loving our post play. Brunk has been getting better and better. Clogging lanes with our poor perimeter shooting isn’t working, as it big guys are becoming better passers. This is the kind of stuff that sustains in March.

    And it was wonderful watching Archie out-coach Izzo on that last possession. He was anticipating the hard hedge on the ball screen, instead he switched. TJD finishes the game with the block. That was some Knight game coaching.

    Izzo was just as grumpy and ungracious after the game as always. Feels just as good beating him as it does Coach K and Calipari.

    Last note: Green is losing his teammates. When he subs in and gets the ball in the half court, everyone stops moving. He just doesn’t get how to play the game. Glad to see that he’s getting more and more bench time when he sulks and makes it all about him.

  4. Hate to be so right about Brunk when just about everyone was throwing him under the bus early in the season. Just unbelievable improvement. Big buckets…The young man does not fold under pressure.

    Love how Archie manages a game…..He’s rarely out-coached.

    Great game from Race Thompson …until his hard foul. Thinkaboutit was right…Race and Hunter are making a huge difference.

    Those on here who thought they were chopped liver recruits are finding out otherwise. Many are improving. It’s not hard to figure out. More comfort level on the floor and simply getting used to the roles and teammates..and pace of a very tough conference.

    Shooting will continue to improve. Percentages don’t always tell the tale. Phinisee, Franklin and Durham all hit back-breakers in very important segments of the game. Durham’s at the end of the half. Franklin after Michigan State had gone on a huge run.

    Nice win….against a very strong MSU team. We had some luck at the end…Never hurts to have some luck.

    1. Where are all the Miller bashers today?
      I’ve been very nervous about Miller, and I’ll admit it.
      But as I’ve watched his teams play defense, I’m beginning to see where this boat might turn around in a way that Hoosier fans will eventually appreciate.
      The team’s energy level is a LOT better lately, and to be honest, that’s what scared me the most about Archie early this season.
      I was afraid he wasn’t getting through to his team.
      Well, he seems to be getting through to them now!
      GO IU!

    2. You were also early on Franklin. I love this kid. Did you see him juke Winton out of his shorts? At least I think it was Winston. I can’t remember for sure. But he’s got a smooth and explosive move to the rim. I hope he sees that film and feels like there’s more treasure to be found by doing exactly that.

      He has a nice form on his shot, too. Those shots are going to start falling.

      1. Thanks for noticing….

        Now it’s time for Scoop MYSTERY POSTER….first edition.

        Can you guess the origins/commenter of the following post?

        January, 2020

        I think the verdict is in; the soft non-conference schedule failed to prepare this team for Big Ten Competition, especially road games. But to be fair, I don’t think it would have made a difference. It just delayed the Hoosier nation from seeing just how bad this team really is.

  5. It’s going to take time but games like this along the way sure soften how tough a march it has been to turn the program back around. As big a disappointment as Fitzner was last year, Brunk is more than making up for it this year. If he finishes his career at IU in this manner he will be well thought of for many years to come. However, I do think all the injuries last year forced players like Fitzner in roles they were not well equipped to play.

    How about some love for JH coming in to get a key rebound and drop 2 FT’s to ice the game? We keep getting flashes of what he could be. Terrible shame for him to have been set back so far by the leg condition. Hopefully by about tournament time he will have regained some of that form.

    1. I like Hunter’s game…I only wish he would drop “the too cool for school” routine.
      I think much of that routine has its beginnings/roots in certain “influencing holdovers” who basically play the game of basketball in a perpetual mirror of sorts.
      I thought we played a very solid game…and there should be pride in taking down a quality opponent with great sustained effort.

      But can we please temper the “too cool for school” looks and false bravado attitude? After all, this is still Indiana. We can still act like we’ve been there before….though it has been 33 years this March.

      Let’s win with frowns and quiet swag….Let’s appear on a mission. Let’s play with a chip on our shoulder to show all those fine brains who design “coaches polls” and “top” this…and “top” that lists, we don’t give a rat’s AP ass about votes from the opinions of single file goats.

      Let’s not brag that “We’re Back” malarkey stamped on our grins…or act as if this is some sort of “Hoosier Rising” ….This is one game. It’s another day at the office. It’s a solid win in our living room. And can we stop making excuses …or acting like we’d have a Final Four already under our belt if not for a couple injuries last year? Every team has key injuries. And many teams have many injuries.
      WE OUR INDIANA! We don’t search for excuses and we shouldn’t feel a need to invent our swag. Hang some more cloth…and then bring your swag while enjoying thick steaks with teammates at a quiet restaurant hosting the championship game. Every good play need not be celebrated as if its a winning audition for some pimple-faced NBA scout.

      Onward to the next play…Onward to the next game. Climb the standings. Steal a couple more on the road. Make some noise in the BigTen tournament for a change. “Breakthrough” some Sweet 16 ceilings….Join ‘Conference Midwest Elite’ THIS season and stun all naysayers by showing up for an Elite Eight.
      It’s just too damn early to be “too cool for school.”

      Never forget the true expressions of swag.

    2. Hunter was money. I hope he’s over and healing from whatever ailed him. You can see that his progression this year has mostly just him getting into Big Ten playing shape. His shots are going to start falling. He’s got a nice stroke. Just has to make sure those legs are under him. Love his attitude and it was great watching him hit that last free throw, pan to Izzo rolling his eyes as the game is over with .6 sec on the clock.

  6. IU played hard the entire game. That was the best game I have seen Brunk play. I notice how the offense slows down when Green has the ball. He has a style of play that is counter to team basketball. Durham hit some big shots. He is sloppy with the ball and drives to the basket out of control, but give the kid credit for coming up big in clutch time. Foul shooting and 3 point shooting kill this team. Their formula for success seems to be pounding the ball inside, rebounding and tough defense. Nevertheless, a signature win and hopefully some recruits watched the game.

  7. Double Down ..do you think Izzo would consider retirement IF the recruits from the State of Michigan go elsewhere??? Izzo looked tired. Our big men’s improvement I think rests a lot on Mike Roberts, he was position coach for 6’10 Ryan Anderson and 6’11 Devon Hardin.

    1. That’s a great observation. I hear that everyone loves Roberts. Might end up being Archie’s best hire.

  8. I think the improvement of Brunk rest on me….lol. I identified his happy “hopping” feet. He cured it and his game has changed.

    Jump shot advice for Joey? It’s all elbow and follow-through. Can’t stop the stroke, Joey. Can’t stop the elbow from it’s natural desire to straighten. I’d put Joey in front of a speed bag. Left-right..Left-right …Left-right. 20 minutes on a speed bag and then take him to the court. The speed bag will relax his elbows and teach repetition of the motion. It will also teach proper touch to keep the bag in rhythm. Touch, rhythm, follow-through. Loosen the elbow…Flick the wrist. Repeat.

    A lot of it is mental…When he’s in close, he relaxes the elbow and makes some very nice use of the glass. When he gets 10-15 ft away, the elbow stiffens.

    1. We tend to throw kids in weight rooms…but we rarely teach outside the box. There is so much that can be learned via sport cross-training. You often hear how one fabulous athlete could take his/her skills to another sport….Answer is usually that they already have…Many of their current skills within a chosen sport were developed playing a different sport…or complementary sports during their youth.

      Always believed boxing was a great sport to develop footwork and balance. Some make fun of the fact that Mitch McGary was a very fine bowler….He also road a unicycle during his childhood. He’d ride down the streets of Chesterton looking like some goofball circus performer. Instead of simply just playing hoops …or staying at home to constantly play Nintendo games during down time, he was learning footwork and balance via hobbies. A basketball feels pretty light in the hand compared to a sixteen pound bowling ball. Facing the pins…Face the basket. Balance to go left or right…? Try it on a unicycle.

      I was never a coach….but if? I would get kids away from constant repetition and over-saturation in one sport. Give Brunk a jump rope and a speed bag… Throw horse shoes to develop touch. Go bowling to develop balance and footwork. Box to relax elbows and face a target. Put Justin Smith on a balance beam. Think outside the box. Have a bit of fun ….All sports have carryover…and the basketball feels more natural if you leave it once in a while.

  9. I agree HH, Brunk played very well and was last night’s MVP. And TJD quietly had a huge impact on the game. You could really see his BB IQ, which is exceptional for a true freshman. Green does some good things, but his negatives tend to neutralize his positives, especially for the most basketball educated fan base in the country.

    Beating MSU and their Hall-of-Fame coach three times in a row leaves little doubt that Archie can coach against the best of them. I don’t think anyone questions Archie’s recognition or in-game coaching ability. I sense that most of Archie’s critics are simply frustrated that he has not been able to improves his players’ shooting ability, either from 3-point range or from the FT line. What’s baffling to me is that while at NC-State, Archie was an excellent shooter from 3-point range and from the FT line. You’d think that, given his experience as a player, that would be one of his teams’ strengths. That he would either recruit great shooters or teach his players how to improve their shooting. But IU is just horrible at the FT line, and not much better from 3-point range. It’s painful to watch them when they’re at the line!

    I’ll throw this question out to you more knowledgeable guys: Is it easier for a coach to teach a great shooter how to play defense, or is it easier to teach a great defender how to shoot? IMO, you recruit great athletes who can shoot and then teach them to become good defenders. Bob Knight, through most of his tenure at IU, recruited great shooters (Alford, Cheaney, Wilkerson, May, Woodson, Bailey, Wittman, etc.) who learned how to become good defenders. He also used role-players for defensive assignments who were not counted on to score a lot of points during a game (i.e., Dakich guarding MJ).

    1. Po,
      Let’s not forget one other thing. CAM beat Izzo at home and away last year with a severely injury depleted team.

    2. I think kids being great shooters coming into college is getting rarer. It just isn’t emphasized in a way that gets you on the recruiting board. It’s all about the wings. The Troy Williams, Justin Smith kinda guys. Recruiting analysts see these kids jumping out of the building and couldn’t care less that they can’t hit anything outside of 5 ft when they’re playing a bunch of kids.

      Ken Pomeroy has a great analysis on the progression of shooters. It really takes a kid a couple of years to develop his shot. You just have to hope he sticks around long enough until his shot becomes some NBA team’s problem.

      https://theathletic.com/837683/2019/02/26/kenpom-when-and-how-freshmen-get-better-and-when-you-have-to-wait-until-next-year/

  10. Outscored MSU 32-18 in the paint..

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    MSU shot 60% from 3-pt range in the second half. I highly doubt if they’ll put up those sort of numbers again.

    IU shot 42% from 3-pt range in the second half. Numbers are trending upward.

    We also need to consider clutch shooting…..A lot of great shooters make buckets when they don’t feel as much game pressure. Jerome Hunter hit a couple very clutch free throws. We also hit some very timely 3-pt shots.
    Durham and Franklin went 3-5 combined on triples(60%) . Green chucked up wild 3-pointers and went 0-3.

    Durham, Franklin and Hunter are probably our most pure shooters. Franklin and Hunter are barely wet behind the ears.

  11. Fantastic win! I was getting concerned about CAM, but this last segment including OSU at the time (despite their free-fall), the road win, and now MSU is giving me more confidence. The most important improvement to me is the more consistently sustained effort and focus for 40 minutes. Gutty play & big props to CAM. Hope to see the same hard-nosed play win or lose for the remainder of the brutal schedule.

  12. There’s a couple of things to note trying to figure out where this program is. Archie’s teams have missed the tournament every year, BUT there’s one thing that is a pattern. The teams get better as the season continues.

    This is a tough roster to manage. There’s no clear go-to-guy and it took a while to figure out what rotations work. Also, imagine having the figure out what to do with Devonte Green? He could go off and burn down the gym some games, then more often than not, he’s sulking guy who poisons the offensive flow and burns his own pants off him.

    I really was terrified after eeking out wins at home vs Northwestern & Nebraska, then their poor showing at Rutgers. It was a real gut check for this team. They’ve responded. Still a lot of basketball to be played. Let’s hope we stay healthy and cause all kinds of problems for the league. There’s a real opportunity for a team that can play consistent defense.

    Speaking of that, while I’m rambling aimlessly. Winston got his 17 points last night, but almost every one of those shots was contested. Kid is a monster. Rob Phinisee did a wonderful job on the ball with him. Did anyone notice that mic’d timeout when MSU when on their 14-2 run? Archie calmly and firmly told them they weren’t getting enough ball pressure. Play resumes and you can see them getting up in the face with the guy with the ball and we stopped the run.

    No need for a sign. Just make them aware and let ’em go out and play. I’m salivating on what we might have if we can get a few guys who can shoot.

  13. On prominent display is the results of the targeted recruiting Coach Miller has achieved. He’s securing players who fit his model of a team for his style for success. Yes he’s lost some. But the advancing improvement of Race, Franklin, Rob, Joey, J-D, Hunter, Anderson and to another degree Al, DD and JS lays claim to strong, solid coaching. A healthy team has been the facilitator for that to happen and good D has bought the time needed to progress. Players are all in as proved last night when he told them they needed to apply intense ball pressure. Contrast that to Green. He offered 3 of the 8 team turnovers in less than 15 minutes. A blind man can see how his season is going to play out. We got us a ball coach. Just ask Izzo. Who admires jealously the Coach working the other side of the scorer’s table.

  14. As for Green, he played hard, but it’s pretty easy to see what night you are going to get from him in less than 2 min. If his shots are going in it is hard not to play him. When they aren’t, he’s a complete liability on both sides of the ball. He must have the worst +/- on the team.

  15. It looked like the culture of Assembly Hall IU basketball. Brunk is a piece of the puzzle that can make things go and is a very good compliment to the rest of the team. IU loooked like a brotherhood and easy on the eyes to watch. Next, road wins needed.

  16. What percentage of HS BB players make it to the NBA or any other professional league? Moms and Dads, if you want your sons and daughters to get a free education and crate a lifetime of great memories, teach them how to shoot. Teach them to shoot 3-point shots, free throws and mid-range shots. Most of these kids can jump out of the gym and dunk the ball, but so few can really shoot.

  17. Sadly, the kid who can jump out of the gym will get the offer from Tom Crean before the shooter. Just ask Matt Roth…His year of eligibility was burned/scholly crunched for a trapeze act. And those shooters he did get may have been somewhat nullified (made more inconsistent) due to poor offensive sets and weaves to nowhere. And then even more nullified when we faced extremely athletic teams like Syracuse…

    I think Archie has the right formula. This team would have far less difficulty with a Syracuse squad like the one our Hoosiers lost to at a Sweet 16. Doesn’t mean much to have great shooters when offenses don’t know how to function against zones…or guards are simply a step slow to go with being undersized. Winston is a fine shooter…but he’s go the whole package of speed and complementary pieces to go with that shooting.

    Shooting has a chance to improve if speed and length can be matched. Speed and length cannot be as easily matched via shooting. This ain’t a game of horse. Hulls was an exemplary kid and probably one of the best shooters ever to come into our program….But he was so terribly quieted/nullified by VCU’s press and Syracuse’s length.

    I’ll still take our roster slowly gaining confidence from distance. These guys don’t have glaring problems with mechanics. There is no fix for slow. Slow works when a disciplined Milan can frustrate Muncie Central in a stall game….It’s the stuff of movies. It may have even worked for Steve Alford in 1987…But the game is faster than sand in an hour glass.

    Have you guys forgotten Josh Newkirk and Stan Robinson. Josh played hard but he was a horrible shooter ….Robinson had to be convinced to change hands by Sheehey because his form was better with his off hand.

    I’m far more confident with any of our guy’s jumpers than those two. Though Crean’s teams were intermixed with great shooters (some very limited in speed) , he certainly had his share of bricklayers and very inconsistent shooters. Don’t mean to just throw the pair of aforementioned under the bus because they were not alone.
    Some nights Troy Williams would catch fire….Other nights he was pretty much jacking up wild attempts in the style of Devonte Green; poor shot selection and committing maddening turnovers while heading off the train track.

    I’ll take our roster because the necessary skills are there. You can’t fix slow….and you can’t fix “wild things.” And you can’t fix inadequate coaching. When the competition notched up in March Madness, Crean kept looking to his bench knowing there was no fix. Do I insert more wild athleticism…or the marksman with the slow feet soon to be gobbled up by a ferocious press or defense with length playing tenacious defense?

    Rare is a team that check all the boxes….though I must say MSU gets pretty close.

  18. MSU is going to be very difficult to keep out of a Final Four.

    Those damn Spartan guards could shift gears and drain triples at the same time. Very smooth in transitioning …Very smooth transmissions.

  19. What needs to happen this weekend…

    MSU(6-2) loses on the road at Minnesota(5-4)
    Illinois(6-2) loses on the road at Michigan(2-5)
    Indiana(5-3) wins at home against Maryland(5-3)

    If all the above happen this weekend, we will be in a 3-way tie atop the Big10 standings (all at 6-3). If Iowa(5-3) and Rutgers(5-3) both win at home, then there could be a 5-way tie atop the standings.

    I wonder if there has ever been a 5-way tie atop the BigTen standings heading into the last week of January?

    Bottom Line: If MSU loses on the road again…and we take down Maryland at home on Sunday, we’ll have a share of first place with anywhere between 2 and 5 teams.

    It was only a week ago that naysayers were burying this season. Suddenly we could be in first place by Sunday night, Jan. 26th.

    1. Interesting thoughts H4H,

      Now here is a thought your comments brought to mind. As of yet, we have not seen a CAM team at full strength performing to maximum capability. Let that sink in for a minute. Now think about this, imagine if the heart of CAM’s first recruiting class (Jerome, Race, Rob) had been able to develop at a normal pace to this point in their career injury free. Add to it, we still don’t have a full roster of pure CAM recruits, and won’t for another 2 years.

      HC made an interesting point earlier. Every CAM recruit fits a profile which is designed to function at maximum efficiency in the CAM system. Not always the big names, but pieces which placed together as a whole become a very fearsome machine. We’ve seen glimpses of it, but not anywhere near what it could be yet. Makes me nostalgic for some teams I saw in 70’s if this goes where I think it can.

      1. tai, thanks you stated it more smoothly than my often raw delivery. I’ve believed that about Coach Miller since watching him elevate Dayton BB with special style of BB chess. All wrapped around his #1 priority being defense. He absolutely targets recruiting to that chessboard. To me he still has to get accustomed to there being a smaller pool of P5 prospects available to IUBB than to the lower level of Dayton. I’m not worried at this point because his scorecard is OK with me.

      2. It would be nice to have one true deadeye ….

        a) It’s sort of an Indiana signature. When we struggle at shooting, it seems the antithesis of who we are. Shooting the rock is a source of statewide pride because our h.s. legends have always been clutch shooters with pure strokes. It was equally baffling to many when it seemed a phenomenal talent like Romeo was not much of a marksman.

        b) Just a few distant effortless bombs splashing nets could make our inside game all the more dominant. When guards have to be more respected, spacing opens up. And there’s nothing like a back-breaking triple to give separation and frustrate an opponent. If it’s a marksman coming off the bench, it can be all the more frustrating for a team which has contained weapons/star players up until the sub wrecks those plans.

        c) Hot shooting is contagious…..When it’s a source of pride for one, it carries over to other guys on the roster. These guys are natural competitors and they don’t like it when someone possesses a skill set absent from their own game.

        Summation: Archie’s formulas for smart possessions, stressing of help defense, controlling the glass and optimal shot selections are things we haven’t seen for many years. It’s a smart game of basketball now fulfilling our heritage and our roots. As I said months ago, these formulas for winning were long ago an “Indiana Way” before a “Butler Way.”
        All of that being said, I am also a sucker for good old-fashioned Indiana shooters and barn siding burners….It seems odd to not have any deadly deadeyes on an Indiana basketball team. It’s what we do.
        The guy with the sweet form winning the biggest stuffed animal for the girlfriend, defying the altered cylinders bent from round to oval at the basketball shooting booths of summer carnivals and state fairs, are always assumed to be Hoosiers.

        I am a sucker for pure shooters….I love the dude who pisses off the crooked carnival man with his altered rims barely a pencil width wider than the ball.

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