Hoosiers fall 78-71 to Michigan State at home

Each time a post bucket from Trayce Jackson-Davis fell through the net, Indiana coach Archie Miller found himself in the same position.

Miller was on a knee, yelling, urging the Hoosiers on as they went back to the defensive end of the floor.

But down the stretch of Saturday’s 78-71 loss to Michigan State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, it seemed that every few seconds spent on a knee were followed by the same gesticulations. After the Spartans scored another easy bucket, a disgruntled Miller was back on his feet, waving the Hoosiers back to the offensive end.

In the second half, Aaron Henry attacked the basket. Marcus Bingham Jr. dunked two-handed. Gabe Brown swished another 3. And down on the Hoosiers’ sideline, Miller was waving the Hoosiers back his way, wanting his team to somehow seize back momentum in a game they were letting slip away.

“I look at the second half as being a complete bust on defense,” Miller said postgame.

In a game where Jackson-Davis scored a career-high 34 points, aided by frontcourt mate Race Thompson’s 15, the Hoosiers (12-10, 7-8 Big Ten) were unable to get the defensive stops necessary to capitalize on their offensive dominance in the post. Instead, Michigan State shot nearly 57% in the second half, producing 29 points in the final nine minutes and change.

It was a bust in many ways. The Hoosiers wasted an 11-of-18 performance from Jackson-Davis, who, after a series of slow starts in Big Ten play, has played well from start to finish in back-to-back games. They also wasted an opportunity to ease their path to the NCAA tournament by sweeping this week’s homestand, falling to a team ranked No. 90 in the NET, just before a difficult four-game stretch to cap the season. Three of the next four are on the road.

It’s off to face a resurgent Rutgers team. Then home versus frontrunning Michigan. Then trips to Michigan State and Purdue to end it. All the while, the Hoosiers will remain squarely on the tournament bubble.

Not to mention, the Spartans (11-9, 5-9) very much gave IU a chance to seize this one early. In the first half, Michigan State turned it over 10 times, including nine in just over 11 minutes to start. But through that stretch, the Hoosiers’ largest lead was 19-6.

By the 2:52 mark in the first half, the Spartans had it locked up at 26-all. While the Hoosiers were able to hold onto a 30-26 edge heading into the locker room, they went in with just three makes in their last 15 shots of the half. IU was just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc at the break, and the Hoosiers finished 4-of-19.

Sophomore guard Armaan Franklin made three of those 3s, finishing with 13 points. Jerome Hunter made the other 3-pointer, early in the first half. But that was it from IU’s shooters.

“We let Michigan State continue to build confidence throughout the game as they hung around,” Miller said. “They got good players and a good team. Like everybody, they’ve had their own journey. … We didn’t control either end in the second half, and it’s a hard one to take.”

In the second half, IU was able to stretch the lead out to nine points twice, including 48-39 with just under 13 minutes remaining. But the Spartans caught the Hoosiers again – and this time, the Spartans blew right by them.

Joshua Langford singlehandedly took a 50-44 deficit and tied it at 52-all with a jumper, a 3-pointer, and a three-point play. Henry scored, and Brown hit a 3, and it was suddenly a 57-52 lead for MSU with under eight minutes to go.

Jackson-Davis immediately answered, hitting a post bucket through contact. After the score, the 6-foot-9 sophomore grabbed the ball with one hand and slapped it with the other, wanting that play to give the Hoosiers an emotional lift. But after his and-1 free throw cut it to a three-point game, the Spartans went on a 10-1 run.

Rocket Watts buried a 3, Bingham Jr. slammed on a break, and Henry scored the other five. The 6-6 junior from Indianapolis got to the line for a pair of free throws, as well as a three-point play.

“Aaron Henry’s a tough matchup. They isolated him a lot in the post, or they iso-ed him just on the perimeter. We didn’t have a good matchup for him,” Miller said. “They spread us on ball screens at times and our coverages weren’t there. And again, Michigan State’s really good on the glass and they’re very good in transition.”

IU just didn’t have the outside shooting to balance the efforts of Jackson-Davis and Thompson on the inside. Aside from an 18-of-29 shooting performance from IU’s forwards, the rest of the team shot 7-of-28, or 25%, from the floor.

Rob Phinisee and Al Durham were a combined 0-of-10.

“They didn’t have an answer for him,” Miller said of Jackson-Davis, “so we played inside-out. When the ball came out, especially in the first half, we missed some open ones.”

Michigan State, on the other hand, didn’t just get a team-high 27 points from Henry. The Spartans won the bench-point battle by a margin of 34-5. Brown, who hit three of his four 3s in the final dozen minutes, finished with 14 points. Bingham Jr. was 4-of-5 from the field for his eight points. Watts added six.

The difference in the two benches may have been most stark as the Spartans pulled away. Every made shot fed the green gang on the sideline, as they were jumping up and down, screaming. Miller just waved his Hoosiers back to the offensive end.

IU just didn’t have the offense to respond.

“I thought our second-half offense, really, after about the first five minutes, was bad,” Miller said. “We had seven turnovers in the second half. All seven of them were tough, bad plays. Took momentum and spirit away from ourselves.

“I’ll say the second part of the second half was bad on both ends. We just didn’t play well.”

86 comments

  1. Too bad for Jackson Davis and Thompson! They played great games. For all you Phinisee and Durham apologists, what do you say now? Those two are the main reasons IU lost this game. Throw in dismal minutes by Lander and once again guard play kills IU. This is one of Izzo’s weakest teams and they still won. Very frustrating and if IU doesn’t make the tournament, this game could be the reason why.

    1. Lander is overrated, Archie needs to give some of the other guards an opportunity to see if they can play. At this point, I wouldn’t want to go to NCAA tourney (don’t think they will get in anyway), it will an early exit for this team. Probably happen as well in the NIT

  2. And there it is. Worst loss of the season. Just a horrid performance defensively today.

    Once again, our upperclassmen guards wilt in a game Indiana should have easily won. At home.

    Road to the tournament just got dicey. Indiana will probably be underdogs the rest of the way. If Indiana’s patterns likely continue, we have a couple of Ls coming our way and will be sitting at home while the tournament is played at Assembly Hall.

    Armaan is really turning into a great player. But he is his own worst enemy and can’t stop fouling. He was on the bench when we needed someone to step up and stop MSU’s 13-2 run.

    So frustrated with this team. It’s not that they just lose, is how they lose.

  3. “It’s not that they just lose, is how they lose.” EXACTLY!

    And it’s that they continue to lose for the same reasons. With this team, we see improvement in some aspects of their collective game throughout the season, but not the aspects that matter most.

  4. I watched Carmel defeat Warren Central last night. It occurred to me that the Greyhounds are fundamentally more sound in most every relevant category: Floor spacing, passing, ball handling, defense, rebounding and SHOOTING from anywhere on the floor. The only disparity would be physical maturity. As a team, they (and obviously their coach) aren’t lacking in comprehensive maturity. You can laugh all you want..but I think they’d give IU a decent game. To even consider such a thing indicates how disappointing this program is. I don’t want them in the tournament because they don’t deserve it. Secondly, it is all too possible they would be embarrassed. AM just needs to ‘analyze’ the situation,..then resign. If not, Dolson needs to make a change for the better. When compared to other programs in the B1G with 4 year coaches, the evidence is clear.

    1. I agree Brad, the evidence is clear.

      What’s interesting about Archie is how his program, after four seasons, compares to his older brother’s program at Arizona. Those Arizona teams play good defense, but they’re always loaded with good offensive players. Archie’s recruiting is a dim shadow of his brother’s recruiting, in spite of his brother’s well-publicized problems. Archie’s not even coming close to getting the talent his older brother signs year after year. And AZ BB does not have the benefit of IU BB’s tradition or the same quality of BB facilities.

  5. Phinisee is Jekyl or Hyde player ..my advice to CAM is start Rob and see WHO he gets; If Hyde shows up you bench him and play him sporadically. Durham is in his own world when he is on the floor. You could plug him into a 110 outlet and he wouldnt notice. Dakich had a good eval of Lander : He has shot more air balls than anyone else in the country. 3 guards that are not dependable .

  6. IU has been a bad shooting team since Archie arrived in Bloomington. And Archie’s guards are the worst shooters on the team. Aside from AF, none of IU’s guards made a 3-point shot today! AF was 5 of 9 while the others were 0-14 from 3-point range. How does a group of Big Ten guards, with plenty of experience, go 0 for 14 from 3-point range on their home court? That’s laughably bad.

    And while IU made 70% of our FTs today, MSU made 86% of theirs. Archie better figure out how to get his team to score points really fast, or its not going to matter how good his teams play defense. IMO, it’s simply unacceptable that his teams continue to lose like this.

  7. Is the 3 pt. line in high school the same distance as in College?. if its the same distance ; then explain to me WHY these kids cant hit water even falling out of a boat. SUPPOSEDLY they were good shooters in high school; 5-star guard lander has hit more air than he hit rim

  8. When Izzo realized that IU couldn’t shoot from outside,…their strategy changed. MSU ‘sagged’. This allowed for better rebounding and slowing down Davis. When the post wasn’t as accessible, IU lost what little outside shooting confidence they may have had. It began to fully unravel from there. This is just a bad basketball ‘team’. AM had no answer in his head nor off of the bench.

  9. I don’t believe a kid who was a good shooter in HS suddenly loses his ability to shoot when he gets to college. Defenses are better and more physical, but that doesn’t explain this level of ineptitude.

    I think it is easier to teach a college freshman how to play good defense than it is to teach him how to shoot. Maybe Archie’s recruiting criteria is backward, at least for guards.

  10. OUCH. 5 IU players were 0 of 14. At least they did not hit double figures on TO’s, they combined for 7.

    Not excited about making the tourney, if anything they win one game.

    This may be the perfect team for advertising hair loss treatments.

  11. Galloway, Leal, and Brunk (if even available in the future) = High b-ball IQs. Not much athleticism. They are what most Indiana fans wanted. They want the ‘white guys can’t jump’ brigade from the home towns …Forever hoping for the next Bailey, Alford, Green, Abernathy, Benson, etc, etc, Sadly, they’re not as good as any of the aforementioned while the length, speed and athleticism of the game has even passed the aforementioned by….

    Lander = Diapers. Should never be expected to change the dynamics of a game coming off the bench…especially against a team as long and as athletic as MSU. Archie is putting him into a situation to not shine. The air balls are no shocker in such situations. If you weren’t going to start him, you should have done everything possible to convince him to stay in high school.

    Jackson-Davis = Crafty and very agile around the bucket. An All-American within 5 feet. Beyond 5 feet, he’s of little value.

    Phinisee & Durham = One recruit pursued initially by Crean. One recruit given a scholarship from Crean. They are, essentially, our “senior” backcourt. They are also byproducts of what Archie inherited. I can only think Archie must feel a certain loyalty to reciprocate their commitment to the program. Should they have been given a realistic assessment three years ago? Probably….Coaching is a profession that requires some tough honesty.

    Jerome Hunter = More game is his mirror than on the floor. He could be great if he didn’t think he was so great.

    Race Thompson = Keeper. Hardest worker on the team. Again, his value doesn’t extend much beyond 5 feet. No confidence in shooting the ball beyond the length of a shoelace.

    Franklin = Vastly improved. Not what I’d ever call explosive or super “dynamic”…Not sure if he’s going to be NBA material (as Dakich today claimed), but he is, by far, our best guard. No surprise to me….I was behind this kid when he was riding pine and most were thinking Phinisee was the future.

    When you don’t have any bigs who can take their game beyond five feet, it contributes to long and athletic teams to primarily focus on shutting down our guards. And even very high quality guards are at a disadvantage when so much of our inside game is collapsed near the basket. There is zero reason for any defender to move outside the paint against Jackson-Davis or Thompson…or Brunk (even if available). Try shooting triples at consistently high percentages when bigs can’t keep defenses honest by moving away from the bucket. Additionally, they’re will never be an IU guard driving into open spacing to kick it out to a big for a long jumper or triple.

    We keep looking at this as a problem with our guards outside shooting….I see a far bigger problem in the limitations of our bigs to take their games beyond 5-10 feet.

    And we need the dynamic point guard…But I’m still wondering how much that helps with ‘bigs’ only valuable around the basket….?

  12. Aside from the obvious G shooting woes, this game was lost between the 14 & 8 min. mark. We went from up 8 to tied in that stretch. A lot of poor shots, TOs, & lax defense. Simply disappointing to say the least.

    TJD + Race ; 18-29
    Armaan ; 5-9
    Others: 2-19 (dreadful)

  13. If Jackson Davis goes pro, IU could be considerably worse next year. Miller better get some transfers or grad transfers to give the fan base some optimism or he will not survive another season. I understand his buyout is considerably less if done by end of March, 2022. I have the feeling that is the date we see a coaching change unless things get turned around and I just don’t see it happening with the current roster and the recruits coming in. This assumes Jackson Davis does not return.

    1. HH: Your point is well taken. A big, big problem with hiring any head coach in a power-5 conference today is its ‘one sidedness’. Schools have been duped or desperately diving into agreements that should only apply to a handful of legendary proven coaches. Those guidelines should not apply to unproven, on-the-come neophytes (AM). “JUST CAUSE” usually is limited to ‘morals infractions and health’. What’s missing is a ‘minimal standard exception’. No university (tax payers) should be held captive by multi-million $ buyout consideration when a coaching change is needed or even desired. Walter Alston was a very successful skipper with the Dodgers for 18 years…and 18 ONE YEAR CONTRACTS. For those that will criticize me on this saying..’you won’t be able to get a good coach’,….well, if a prospective hire isn’t willing to agree to reasonable ‘minimal standards’ clause in conjunction with the early buy out penalty (besides the standard morals clause) then you probably would be better off not signing them in the first place.

  14. Still lacking a consistent legitimate 3 point threat.

    Franklin, Hunter and Leal (and Stewart) are the only players that have any hope of supplying it.

    1. Hopeful, the cost to buy out AM’s contract is an important consideration, but another important issue will be the shape AM’s program is perceived to be in when he gets fired. Specifically, the talent on the roster and the committed recruits. If evaluated to be weak, it could make it very difficult for IU to hire a quality coach capable of returning IU BB to prominence? The most talented coaches don’t want to take five years to turn a mediocre program around. And given Archie’s recent recruiting failures and a pipeline that looks pretty empty, how many good coaches are going to want the IU job?

      And let’s be honest, IU is either unwilling or unable to pay top dollar for a BB coach. So that means rolling the dice on another “up and comer.”

      Overall, my guess is that Archie will get a fifth season at IU. That’s probably the option that involves the lowest financial and political risk for IU’s administration. With COVID continuing to distract everyone and mask (no pun intended) the Hoosier Nation’s growing unhappiness, Archie will get another season. But if I was IU’s AD, I’d be quietly updating that succession plan and evaluating potential candidates to be IU’s next BB coach.

  15. I don’t care about Ken Pom ratings, etc. IU at 12-10 overall and 7-8 in league is not worthy of consideration for the NCAA tournament. I’d much rather see an IU team that unquestionably should be in the tournament, rather than yet another bubble (if that) team. Year 4 of Miller and IU is nowhere close to a solid, relevant tournament team. The loss of Brunk was big, but it’s not a strong excuse. Another year down the drain….

  16. Is COVID 19 or is there less shoe company’s money available than in the past seasons that has changed college basketball this season. There are some major college programs that are taking their lumps this season, and their pool of talent seems lacking this season. I U Athletic Department Finances needs a strong men’s basketball program for tickets and donations to flow into the program this year’s team is falling way short of being average, much less strong. When the fans are allowed back into the basketball games it will be interesting to see how many I U Fans return to Assembly Hall, I don’t think I U Football can carry the load, if men’s basketball has a big attendance and donations flop.

    1. You can televise the women on the biggest networks at prime time …but it doesn’t mean anyone will watch. Just is what it is…..How much viewership do you believe the WNBA pulls compared to the NBA?
      I suppose they’re are those basketball “purists” out there who simply watch basketball for its fundamentals, pick and rolls, nice screening, box-outs, Virgil Sweet free throw releases, etc….. and have little appetite for off-the-charts athleticism, 360 dunks and highwire acts. I’m pretty sure Podunker would view women’s basketball as the antithesis of “style of play.” What style is in such boring “purist” basketball?

  17. Loss of Brunk….and Smith. Why do you people keep dismissing the loss of Smith? Not saying we’re necessarily Elite Eight or Final Four material with Smith and a healthy Brunk, but I’m pretty sure they’d had enough impact to take us way off a “bubble.”

    All the ‘last four in’…’first four out’ and bubble nonsense are merely mirages and inventions to maintain appearances of “measurements” and equity in a college basketball world that is anything but measurable in fairness. Follow the money…Follow the agents…Follow the boosters…Follow the Fab Five tactics at every major money laundering program the NCAA is too afraid to throw their book of rules. If the FBI can’t put the crooks of college basketball away, then what’s left is not random madness. What is left is conglomerates of the sport who control the strings….It’s not different than the Walmarting of America. Smiley faces destroying the even playing fields….gobbling up supply chains, brainwashing an easily brainwashed deteriorating populous IQ…and dissolving all competition.

    1. The loss of Smith is dismissed because he’s gone from his choice to leave. Water under the bridge. It’s not as if he’s gone due to unfortunate injury or personal circumstances. He obviously felt Coach Miller’s program had nothing more to offer him.

  18. I don’t watch the men’s games. I’ll record, than check the final score and the box scores and decide do I watch or just delete. This one was a delete. May be time to televise all the #12 IU Women’s games and let BTN+ or radio coverage for the Men’s.

  19. This team is just hard to watch. They are the worst FG and FT in IU history. Archie has never gotten over the hump and in the top half of B1G standings. He is now losing recruits to Creighton. I just don’t know how anyone can feel optimistic about the future of the men’s program. We have needed guard since Archie’s arrival. He still hasn’t solved that problem. He isn’t a motivator. This game was huge and at times looked disinterested in the 2nd half. I just don’t understand what Arch is expecting to happen. He is basically out coached in every game. I thought when IU hired Arch it was a home run and he got it and embraced IU basketball. He has proven with his 0-6 record against Purdue that he just doesn’t quite get it. On a brighter note, our women’s team is so fun too watch right now and are fundamentally sound.

  20. Based on the levels of anger and frustration in our small sample set of devoted Scoopers, it seems obvious that we’re still a fan base that cares way more about basketball than football.

    That does give me some pause for hope….Emotions and this level of hostility at Archie speak louder than all of that silliness about IU being a football school now.

    Would there be this harsh criticism if otherwise? And doesn’t basketball merely function as something which should be of secondary value compared to the imperative funding and cash cow of a successful college football program?

    Don’t sweat it so much, guys. You’ve claimed we’re now a football school….We’ll get all the cash and notoriety needed from the genesis occurring on the Hoosier gridiron. Heavens to Betsy, you all seem more upset from a tight basketball loss against MSU than anything I’ve witnessed in your joy over your newly discovered football school.

    IU will always be a basketball school first and foremost. Just look at the comments above…Missing some shots becomes more an insult to your Indiana identity than what 10 Rose Bowls could do to erase such a wart. Reason for hope…Basketball is far more your blood. Football is an adopted child you support and speak highly….but it’s only to get under the skin of what you care most. Where your heavy bias resides forever shows by how much more the blood boils when your favored child is embarrassed under those banners. My goodness….Lose a tight game to a ‘Hall of Fame’ coach with a team we now is far better than their record and it’s as if the sky is falling again.

    Football school…? Yeah, right.

  21. Podunker you’re such an Anti-Miller supporter; WHO would you hire to replace? The “Fire Miller” voices are starting to sound like Univ. of Texas Alumni-who have changed coaches more times than their underwear. The LAST 4 Coaches of Univ Texas are: Mack Brown-1998 to 2013; Charlie Strong 2014 to 2016 ; Tom Herman 2017-2020, and FINALLY Steve Sarkisian 2021-present. You start hiring and firing like the OIL MONEY does in Texas you get coaches chasing the money and NOT worried about the program. Oil doesn’t care about Buyout only winning at ANY cost. Its also time to start making these Scholarship kids somewhat responsible for their performance. If TJD leaves for NBA perhaps the UNDERwhelming growth and performance of some of his teammates and not the coaches.

    1. Currently, as long as they are trending upwards and or maintain a solid program I do think there’s a market for televising IU Ladies basketball.
      1. Not on any kind of major tv network but on a local Indiana station like channel 40, 23, or 20 for example similar to like the Chesty potato chips and Butler with Buck Shot O’Brien days and IU channel 4 with Chuck Marlow….or Stokley Van Camps and local tv of the Indianapolis Indians baseball and sending in labels to get a prize.
      2. I think there are other Ladies college teams in the country that could do the same thing.
      The reason being for the state of Indiana is the growth of girls sports including basketball in the state of Indiana elementary thru high school. Parents, players on teams, coaches would be a nucleus that would watch. It would be better than some things including sports that are on some channels now. At least some games could be locally televised on like an IU channel or small secondary local channel. Other colleges for the ladies could do the same for some of the major ladies basketball programs.

    2. TJ, when a college fan base and boosters are not satisfied with a beloved sports program, they change the leadership of that program. Same as a corporations B.O.D. when a CEO isn’t meeting expectations. It’s all relative to expectations and how much money they can spend to buy out a coach’s contract. Contrary to what many believe, it does not take five years to determine if the leader of a college BB program has got things pointed in the right direction and is capable of meeting those high expectations (look at MI and OSU BB). The irony of your comment is that I was opposed to IU firing Crean when IU did. Contrary to what some scoopers will write, I was not (an am not) a huge Crean fan, but it seemed like a stupid, knee-jerk reaction for IU to fire him the year after he won his second Outright Big Ten Championship! It was financially irresponsible and a strategic blunder. IMO, it damaged IU BB. Crean was/is not a great BB coach, but his accomplishments at IU prove that he wasn’t a bad one, either. And I think that the last four seasons have proven that it was a really stupid decision, since IU BB is no better off now than it was the year Crean got fired and will not be competing for Big Ten Championships any time soon. I acknowledge that there is risk in keeping a mediocre coach too long and there’s risk in firing a coach to soon. But that’s why Power-five conference ADs get paid big bucks to make those decisions.

  22. I have watched Villanova and J. Wright a couple times and not because I follow them. They just were on tv. Justin Smith came to mind as I watched them. Villanova has several high star recruits but not all them. What I noticed
    1. Villanova is very methodically disciplined…kinda like I remember Justin Smith being methodical. Nothing fast or flashy but almost play if opponent is not even there. 2. Villanova must live in the gym and spend rest of time in weight room in strength and conditioning. They are very strong with the ball and don’t get knocked around or off balance claiming loose or any bobbled ball as theirs . 3. Individual players are able to break down opponents players on offense. They can methodically shoot 3 ball. On defense one can see them physically move as a team walling up on opponents players. Villanova makes opponent play their way. Their are similar teams in big ten. These teams are like playing a toothache. IU seems to be the opposite…they play opponents way.

  23. We should’ve won this game by 10, instead we lose by 7, a 17 pt differential. IF the 4th -9th men had gone 6-19 (seemingly not that difficult) instead of 2-19….just more IFs with this bunch.

    The fact of the matter is the ball just didn’t fall again today. Most of the looks were solid. We just missed. And the defense got loose at the 14 min mark & gave MSU life. Simple as that.

    I did see the @ MSU game has been rescheduled for Mar. 2. So, 4 games left & It wouldn’t surprise me if we lost all 4. It would surprise me if we won 2. But, this team seems to play to its competition, so we’ll see.

    Only 3 more weeks on this roller coaster.

  24. Hall of Fame, NCAA title coaches make adjustments. I’ve been watching MSU ‘evolve’ in Jan. & Feb. Izzo always plays for the long term.

    Here’s just an example of the starting line-ups of both teams from their 1st Big Ten game vs. yesterday;

    Game #1
    MSU vs. NW : Kithier, Henry, Hauser, Watts, Langford
    IU vs. NW : TJD, Race, Armaan, Durham, Phinisee

    Yesterday
    MSU : Hall, Marble, Henry, Hoggard, Langford
    IU vs. NW : TJD, Race, Armaan, Durham, Phinisee

    Summary: 2 MSU same starters, 5 IU same starters

    What I see here is a coach willing to make adjustments &/or send message(s) to win ballgames. He’s constantly searching for the right combination before & during a game.

    Contrast that to a coach that starts & subs in the same pattern every game. Even when the starting 5 looks awful & digs a quick hole & the sub combinations improve the situation (Iowa), the same 5 start after halftime.

    I’d like to see more minutes from Leal, Geronimo, & Galloway. All 3 of these kids seem to have good basketball IQs & provide + minutes. (Sans the Galloway 3 he took yesterday). At this point, I’d be looking for ‘something different’ vs. the status quo starting 5 & same old sub sequence.

    1. Yes. Good point. I think this is core of what has failed AM. He seems to stubbornly stick to the same patterns, line-ups and schemes, even when they aren’t working.

      Archie and Crean are literally on two ends of the spectrum. Crean would change up zone and man-to-man on the same possession. Archie seems to stubbornly stick to the same thing making few adjustments. On the offensive end, it is the most problematic. Big Ten defenses have figured out Indiana and I just don’t see the adjustments to course correct. Somewhere in between these two approaches is the sweet spot.

      You have to play to your roster’s strengths. AM’s offense is all about attacking and getting to the foul line. But if you have a team that can’t shoot free-throws, that’s a recipe for disaster. How many games have we lost this year by just a few points, yet we missed 10 -14 pts at the free-throw line?

      Playing time? We know that Rob and Al are going to be uneven. Yesterday they scored 0 points, and had 30 and 36 min of playing time. Rob’s line of 0 pts 3 TOs 4 fouls was about the single worst performance I’ve seen out of starting guard in Indiana’s history. Rob is starting to make Verdell Jones III look like Isiah Thomas.

      1. I’m completely on board with this criticism. I said weeks ago that this was last years team (actually worse with Smith’s departure) and would remain so until the freshmen were contributing.

        And for a while the freshmen minutes increased game by game. But lately it seems the freshmen minutes have gone down. Galloway, Geronimo, and Leal needed to get a lot more playing time so they would be contributing now. It always seemed like the team played better the more freshmen on the floor.

      2. So let’s see, if Davis is the best player on the team his scoring 34 is considered not playing to IU’s strengths? Hunter improving to the point where he can play the 3 or 4 is not playing to IU’s strength? AD has been hitting 40% of his 3’s over the past handful of games is not playing to IU’s strengths? Phinisee and Race are IU’s best defenders. When D is such an important part of BB how can playing them not be playing to IU’s strengths?

  25. I somewhat agree….Have you coached before, AWinAZ? How practical is that when starting your fourth year while dealing with inherited roster components against freshman barely wet behind the ears in a brutal conference? And then within that scenario, you are attempting to appease a fan base (some still longing for the guy who walked on the “We’re Back” waters of the Jordan River) by simply doing whatever you can to make the premier postseason tournament. Is the fan base willing to go along with your hard decisions to bench upperclassman (potentially seeing some of your most veteran roster guys recruited by Mr. Walk on Water transfer out) as he makes his “adjustments” for long term plans while possibly sacrificing the short term of March Madness invites?

    And if you start Lander…or Leal or whatever new combination, what does it do to the confidence and trust levels of those recruits who try to use some of their upperclassmen status as leadership symbols? Can they lead from the bench and still be confident when playing the role of subs to freshmen and sophomores?

  26. Just finished watching the UM – OSU game. My god, the gap between these two programs and us is a chasm that even Gandalf couldn’t hold together.

    I don’t follow the inner workings of other programs in depth. When IU fired Crean, I certainly had my preferences (Donovan), but well admit that I had little knowledge of who the right fit would be, as I didn’t really know who the up and comers were. Archie Miller was hired and there was universal praise throughout college basketball commentators.

    Conversely, Juwan Howard’s hiring at Michigan came with a LOT of doubters. Many called it a PR stunt. They said it was risky and had all kinds of question marks.

    Look at where their programs are today. In just his 2nd year, Howard has Michigan looking like a national title contender and has the #1 recruiting class coming in. He’s knocked Calipari and Coach K off the top rung of the ladder for incoming talent. Indiana is sub .500 in conference and has the 78th rated recruiting class for 2021.

    Archie’s hire wasn’t dumb at the time. But how come there weren’t many commentators were calling his hire “risky”? He made the Elite 8 once (better than Crean did in 9 years!), then didn’t manage to get out of the 2nd round for the following 3 years (two first round exits). Again, not saying the hiring decision was poor, but I do find it curious that so many were so quick to lob bombs at Howard, while being nothing but roses for Miller.

    I don’t want to have to keep saying this, but I really like Archie Miller as a human. I can honestly appraise the man’s performance and not make it personal. I REALLY want him to succeed. He carries himself with integrity. He’s taken ownership of these losses regardless of what that hack Kent Sterling wants to claim. He’s never thrown his players under the bus. My god, the number of times Crean through guys under the bus, they had to replace both of it’s axles. Archie didn’t “Crean” out guys like Phinisee and Durham. Crean gave up on kids and rode 9 years at Indiana by always being able to blame the program’s uneven performance on others. Archie’s stuck with his guys and has tried to do his best with them.

    But I think the comparisons between the hot takes when Miller and Howard were hired reveal a lot about our blindspots in the evaluation of hiring coaches. It’s far some something that will ever be a perfect science, but even more, this is why we should look at what was missed at the time and why.

    1. And Howard inherited a program from Beilein which had been to three Elite Eights and two Final Fours (first Final Four with Mitch McGary taking the tournament by storm) in the previous six seasons. ….That’s sort of cultural/basketball IQ/ March Madness mega level of success differences….seeing how you are speaking of chasms.

      Archie wasn’t left with 3 Elite Eights and 2 Final Fours in recent history….And what coach is left that sort of recent history? It was a very unique circumstance for Howard to step into such a healthy and vibrant program. Howard was left a bit more than a set of cue cards and Tim Priller as back-up center …

      All the above being said, I do fully support your next to last paragraph, DD. It’s spot on….especially as it pertains to the human element in contrasting the two coaches, the decent treatment of recruits, second chances given when guys go a bit astray and the tactics of scholly crunching of ‘expendables’ off the carousel for the next “upside” project. Certainly no news to me (it was evident Crean had zero character in how he lumped all Sampson kids together..It was also clearly evident he couldn’t coach nine weeks into the job…It didn’t take nine years and waiting for more bus tire tracks on backs …and cue cards to see the obvious), but spot on, nonetheless.

      1. You didn’t see what I said. I said that the analysis was universally in praise of Archie Miller and eat highly skeptical about Howard.

        I find that curious.

        Yet here we are. Archie is in danger of missing the tournament for the 4th year in a row. Howard might win a Big Ten championship.

        Who cares what the circumstances are? Stop making excuses.

  27. OSU vs Michigan. What a difference vs. IU. Seems like an IU thing. CTC had the same issue. Outstanding 1st half and nothing in the 2nd.

    Nice seeing DD & AZ trying to dissect why the program is running flat instead of just complaining (but I sure can understand the fan frustration). Hesitate to even consider next year.

    Seems more & more years where I’ll be glad the season is over for IU bb.

    1. Those markers don’t tell the whole story. After 2 previous losing seasons, Coach K in years 3 and 4 made the tournament. He won 23 and 24 games. He made the round of 32, which was a bye for the round of 48. Coach K was in the finals in year 6.

      There’s no trajectory whatsoever for this current program that even comes close to this.

  28. You’re lumping all the first four seasons together…but he really turned the corner in year 4. Went from 11-17 in year 3 to 24-10 (ranked 14th in final AP poll) and tied for 3rd in the ACC in year 4.

  29. Ask some of the beat writers or Jeremy who were around when Stevens coached Butler. It is well known behind the scenes that Brad Stevens absolutely hated the side of college hoops away from the court. Specifically boosters. If he hated that at Butler, it would be waterboarding to take that on at Indiana.

    Who knows, though. A number of years coaching million dollar crybabies might make one want to pick up the ax and head back into the old salt mines.

    If I was betting, I would bet that if things don’t work out in Boston, he’d be off to another NBA gig.

    1. Yea, and the problem with Boston isn’t really Stevens, it’s the GM, who refuses to get top free agents when they are available. Steven’s won’t be returning to college BB any time soon.

  30. I really like the Loyola of Chicago coach…His basketball apprenticeship was under the late Rick Majerus. Porter Moser developed quite the bond with Rick Majerus…Huge influence on his unpretentious faith and love of basketball.
    Majerus was my choice before we hired the P.T. Barnum.

    We need a ‘Sister‘ for IU Basketball…

  31. I still believe IU’s collective player talent is the negative not the Coach or coaches. Crean left damn little on the roster to transition with. Then outside of Coach Miller’s control the long, lasting multiple injury saga of the 2nd season and still dragging on to a lesser extent into this season. Improvement in player performance is what I keep my eye on. Davis, Race, Hunter, Franklin and Durham have all improved measurably. Outside of offense Rob’s D has gotten nothing but better.

    1. Clarion I totally agree with you. NOW saying that – I think its time for I U Fans to ask the relevant question: What skills does the recruit bring and stop asking how many stars. We have ,as fans, fallen in LOVE with the “star ranking” of recruits. We have seen that while some dont progress as we would expect or hope we also get those that were under the radar and develop into very good ball players. The latter area would include Oladipo and Anonobi (sp) I THINK that Geronimo CAN develop into that class Juwan Morgan was NOT an overly recruited player . We also Need to support the 3 and 4 year student/athlete. The Romeo Langford’s will come and go but the Jerome Hunters and Jordan Geronimo need to feel that ” fan family” and not us fans tearing into everything I U.

    2. Clarion and TJ: Exactly who is responsible for analyzing players, recruiting, signing them and then getting them to play properly? If a restaurant has bad tasting, overpriced, bland food it’s likely not the valet or waitresses fault.
      Defending this program is like saying Al Capone at least gave soup to the needy.

  32. A.M. contract is thru 2024 with bonuses paid 2018 and 2019 of $125,000 and $250,000.
    IU is not winning and losing games before any game ever begins… It’s the talent and physical culture of team recruiting, player development, off season, and practice during season that creates an image. The best teams physically as a talented team do what they intend to do against IU or other opponents. When these teams meet with each other one team will prevail over the other makes for great games.

  33. Yes, A.M. has some Indiana recruiting but has not won enough first choice recruiting battles. A.M. salary ranks about number 19 or 20 among coaches.
    Physically, when playing IU as an overall team looks a lot different than the top big ten teams and other top teams from other conferences.

  34. There is a perfect fit to turn the program around. I just hope SD has him on a short list and makes his move immediately after the tournament (maybe in person since he’ll either be in Indy, W. Lafayette or B-town)..because if he doesn’t,..someone will, that is, if he wants to take it? I don’t want to jinx it by throwing out a name, but here are some references;
    He’s 61-24 since taking over a program that in the same period before getting there, was 31-65. They went over a decade with no winning seasons. He has no one above a 3* on his roster. In spite of that, his current team is a top 4 D1 shooting club.
    They play ferrocious defense. He is closer to 45 than 50. Spent 18, … yes 18 years as an assistant at a prominent powerhouse before landing his current gig. For all intents and purposes, he is everything that we’ve been panning for..but left empty for over a decade. Finally, his club has less D1 losses than only 3 other teams this season. One last hint, this school’s ‘claim to fame’ was a 2 point loss to Abdul-Jabbar and Wooden in the ’69 final 4, then blowing out Dean Smith’s Tarheels in the consolation.

    1. News reports suggest that your preferred candidate will be getting a new contract (with a major pay increase) from his current employer at the end of this season. Furthermore, he’s a native of the state he currently works in, and his son will be a freshmen on his team next season. Not saying that a ton of money can’t overcome those obstacles to IU hiring him, but he seems like a guy who will be quite comfortable in his current job for at least the next four years.

        1. Brad, a few potential obstacles:
          1. AM’s contract buyout will be expensive this spring.
          2. IU might have to pay the buyout on your candidates’s contract too.
          3. Would IU be your candidate’s first choice of new jobs? He’s bound to have other options that can pay him more than IU is able/willing to pay.
          4. His son is his program’s star recruit for the Class of 2021. Does he just transfer him to IU? Is he good enough to play in the Big Ten?
          5. His entire family is from the state he now works in and enjoy attending the games.
          6. He’ll have unbelievable job security where’s he’s currently coaching for many years to come. Would he have that same job security at IU? “Everything is relative to expectations.”

          1. PO: A most observant and persuasive analytic breakdown. I see value in every obstacle you list.
            All I’ll say is this, like IU’s new DC, “unless you try, you’ll never know”.
            As for the money,…at this point it really doesn’t matter. IU has been swimming on the deep end of the pool without a preserver for decades. They’ve been taking in gulps of water since Myles Brand. Think of it this way,..if Ohio State’s football program had endured a run like IU’s basketball program I imagine they would be willing to do or spend anything to stop the rot (which incidentally they did). To me, IU is like a dad at work that gets a call his daughter was hit by a car while walking home from school. The expense of the hospitalization is the last consideration. At this juncture, IU’s mens basketball program,..legacy, is lying on the side of the road with multiple injuries. I do suspect that unless this thing is turned around after this season….an expedited ambulance or a world class orthopaedic surgeon will likely not make much of a difference. I have no doubt that DD would be one of the few people able to do it. At best, even if SD comes loaded…it’s maybe a 20% shot. Without a move it’s a 100% chance that this program, under its current ‘leadership,’ will drown. As for the dad-son coaching thing,…the Allens.

      1. PO: The average ($450,000) HC salary in the MVC is about a 5th of that in the B1G (2.7 million). Don’t think $ would be the stumbling block. Being comfortable, someone else getting him..etc might be.

  35. I just read our final banner under Knight just qualified for social security payments……and has officially retired.
    “Seems like yesterday, but my grommets are tired and it’s hard to hide the wrinkles. I could hang around a few more years, but I’d like to do some other things with my life. I’d still like to see Italy….Would love to learn the origins of fine Italian breads instead of simply being a reason any newbie coach can make more bread. I’ve enjoyed the reunions ….I’ve certainly caused my share of neck sprains. Have loved being looked up to by so many…..I’ll miss the rafters, but you sort of know it’s time. The coworkers playing the game and wearing the uniform I endorse see me as some sort of stranger around here. Wow….The last 34 years went so quickly…Before you know it, you’re in an assisted living ‘Hall of Champions’ with the occasional visits of a distant relative. Honestly, it’s not for me. I’d rather be a Bobby Knight bedspread than end up in a glass case. Sometimes wish I would have found someone else….maybe had some banner children to pass on my cloth. A banner significant other…and some banner kids? Sure, I would have loved nothing more. But deep love can be very elusive….and it certainly doesn’t get any easier with age. “

  36. Why doesn’t IU implement a federal government program. If more banners are wanted. Just hire a seamstress and make some. Maybe Recommended, the IU mop lady singer. I am sure UCLA, NC, and KY can be overtaken shortly.

  37. If IU A.D. wanted to make a fast Drake basketball coach Devries statement for IU men’s basketball or bring back A.M. for more of the same. And yes the coaches son is good enough to play for IU and grow into a contributing team member. As far as 3 stars there are not many 3 star players in Mo Valley… I suppose it depends what rating system is used. This is winning in Mo Valley…Not included are Wichita State, Creighton, nor Tulsa.

  38. Archie will get a 5th season, even though he doesn’t deserve it. IU needs a dynamic coach that can instill confidence and motivate recruits to come to IU and energize the fan base. I have seen nothing in Archie that he can do either. I have seen nothing in Archie that makes me feel he is a special coach. He has swung and missed on more recruits than Casey at the Bat. Right now, recruits don’t view IU any differently than 50 other options. We can analyze the situation forever, but the bottom line is that mediocre is not good enough. I see next year being even worse, assuming Jackson Davis goes pro. How can anyone on this site think the current state of IU basketball is acceptable? How many on this site feel Archie is the guy? I was optimistic when he was hired, but maybe that was more relief than anything else that Crean was gone.

    1. I agree Hoosier Hopeful, Archie will be back for a fifth season because he had a good agent who negotiated a contract with a budget-busting buyout through the first five seasons.

      I’d still be supportive of Archie if his recruiting class for 2021 and his targets for 2022 looked more promising, but his performance in recruiting has been a failure. Archie’s talent pipeline does not inspire confidence for the future of the program.

  39. Coach Miller isn’t going anywhere.
    I don’t like saying it but Trace doesn’t yet have the skills to succeed in the NBA. His inside game would not be effective against the bigger pros w/o an outside shot. Pure and simple.

    1. It doesn’t matter if TJD’s game is ready for the NBA or not. The NBA drafts on potential. IU’s last NBA draftee wasn’t ready for the Boston Celtics, but he got drafted in the first round. The only question is whether TJD will get NBA feedback that gives him high confidence that he’ll be a first round draft pick. If yes, he’s gone. If not, he stays at IU for another season.

  40. Agree…And if you’re going to do something as drastic as a quick change in leadership before the guy has even had a chance, I highly doubt a coach from Drake is going to rally recruits or the fan base (no matter how much he’s setting the world on fire at a private mid-major faith-based school).

    And the few names I’ve thrown around wouldn’t either. We have this belief that a coach will change everything…There are no guarantees that even a Stevens or Beilein could instantly return to their same levels of college success…The competition environment has changed. We are still dealing with the pandemic…We have no idea how soon we’ll have full fan participation.

    I like the understated genuineness of Archie Miller. He’s all business….He’s all basketball. He doesn’t promise the moon or act as if the ‘Indiana’ name comes with sanctimonious worship. He doesn’t appear to use personal beliefs or faith ideologies to manipulate the environment to his favor. The man wants to teach team basketball. Some recruits simply want an NBA stage …Some want to be fawned upon because they have all the skills to play at the next level. I’m thankful we’ve moved away from that sort of culture of individualistic concentration in favor of team ball. I find it anything but boring against the previous “style”…

  41. HC,
    I hope you are right. If Jackson Davis does return, then it will be up to Miller to bring in transfers and grad transfers that can shoot the ball. Lander needs to make a huge jump. If these things happen, next year could be dramatically different. So that is the challenge for Miller and how he will be judged.

  42. In Crean era there was a glaring focus from players on NBA while playing college basketball resulting in winning a few games by helter skelter image.
    At least I don’t see that near as much with A.M. even though Romeo left for NBA. Currently, I don’t see enough in the pipeline that’s going to make a big difference. TJD needs some help. Before that there was Morgan who needed help. IU needs more than one or two of those level of players playing at the same time.

Leave a Reply