Plenty of questions remain for Miller, Hoosiers #iubb

For every answer coach Archie Miller got about his first Indiana team in Saturday night’s exhibition win over Marian University, two more questions arose.

Such is life when the calendar has yet to turn to November, especially with a new coach and new players starting a new season.

“There’s a lot of things that are concerning right now,” Miller said. “I think the big thing for our team is to take this film, our staff be able to teach them and get better this week as we head to Sunday (the second exhibition game against the University of Indianapolis).”

The list of those concerning things include figuring out a rotation, playing through the post, transition, screening, scoring and foul trouble, to name a few.
It’s not just the coach who noticed those things against the Knights. The Hoosiers realize full well there’s a long way to go.

“(We can take away) just the little things,” senior guard Josh Newkirk said. “I think sometimes we had little mistakes on defense. Sometimes we had trouble running plays. Like you said earlier, the turnovers. Just take away little things like that, sharpen them up, watch film, and just get back to it and fix it.”

So far, there’s no reason to believe they won’t do just that. Miller has already seen their willingness to adjust.

“I think our guys are bought-in,” he said. “I think our guys are trying to do exactly what we’re asking them to do. It’s going to take time for them to get the chemistry they need. We know we’re going to have to be a very, very hard playing team.”

It will also help if the Hoosiers can be a fully healthy team, as freshman Al Durham (hamstring) and senior Collin Hartman (ankle) both sat out the game against Marian.
Both will help provide some answers to those questions about the playing rotation.

“You hope that Collin, being a fifth-year senior, is obviously going to get back in there,” Miller said. “We’re going to need a fifth guard, getting Al back in there as well.”

As for the rest of the rotation, perhaps the biggest question marks concern the frontcourt, where Juwan Morgan and De’Ron Davis got the start, with junior Freddie McSwain coming off the bench early along with freshman Justin Smith.

Freshman Clifton Moore didn’t make an appearance until the second half, but flashed his potential as well.

“Defensively, how many fouls can we absorb in the frontcourt?” Miller said. “We basically played De’Ron and Freddie a little bit in what we call the five slot, but we may need a third guy. Who’s that going to be? And being able to be bigger on the wing. I don’t know if you can play three small guards against every opponent on our schedule. We may need to have Justin move over to the left a little bit as well.”

Offensively, playing through the big guys in the post is also a challenge.

“I thought we did a better job playing out of the post as the game wore on,” Miller said. “We still had, I think, two turnovers maybe in and around the post area. We have to get the ball deeper. You don’t want to play against a loaded defense out of the post where you’re not getting good touches. The second half, we did a better job of getting it deeper in there.

“De’Ron had a good assist coming out of the post to Curtis for 3. He got a good post move there as well. Playing out of the post is good.”

So is scoring the ball, something the Hoosiers also did much better in the second half against Marian. Still, there were moments when the offense was stuck in neutral, not that Miller was surprised.

“I think the thing that’s concerning is how we’re going to score,” he said. “If you’re not making 3s, if you’re not scoring in transition, how are you going to score in the halfcourt? That’s going to be something we’re going to have to work at all the time, and we’re going to have to continue to get better at it. But we’re going to have to find a way to score in the halfcourt.

“My hope is that we’re a team that can shoot the ball, though. I think you got a glimpse tonight, there’s multiple guys that can stretch the floor. And you had Al and Collin not in, who are both very good shooters. So I think being able to shoot the ball is going to be a big thing for us. But how we score in the halfcourt against really good teams who won’t let you score in transition, how that’s going to be is going to be the biggest concern.”

And those concerns will be addressed this week ahead of the exhibition finale.

“Like I said, this is another huge week for us to get to Sunday and play another team,” Miller said. “How much better can we get?”