Miller looking for progress Wednesday vs. Arkansas State

Late last Wednesday night, after his Indiana team returned from its loss at Seton Hall, Archie Miller went home and opened his laptop.

The first-year IU coach scrolled through hundreds of video clips before clicking on a Dayton game from last November. It’s easy for Miller to recall the big wins and memorable milestones from his time as the Flyers’ coach, but on that night last week, he wanted to be reminded of the warts.

As he sat there and watched his Dayton team struggle defensively through an early-season game last fall, Miller felt a sense of reassurance.

Early-season mistakes can always be corrected.

“Sometimes you have to go back and watch a November practice from a team a couple years ago and you are going to see the same stuff,” Miller said. “Each team is pretty much the same. They are always building. They are always developing. For our team, mentally as a coach, you want to give yourself an image of where you are at compared to previous seasons. We are getting better. We have to continue to find a way to tighten things up as much as we can.”

Indiana will look to take additional steps toward playing better, more complete basketball when it hosts Arkansas State on Wednesday at 7 p.m., the first of two games in three days for the Hoosiers.

Since IU’s 70-53 win over South Florida on Sunday night, the Hoosiers have dedicated time to fixing themselves, both in terms of film study and on-the-court work.

During the season-opening weekend, which included the 90-69 loss to Indiana State, Miller lamented that the good things IU did in practice were not carrying over into the games. Last week, that started to change.

Miller was encouraged to see Indiana’s better practice habits lead into a strong, competitive first half at Seton Hall. The IU coach saw even more carryover in the South Florida game, particularly in the second half.

Putting together a complete game, however, is something the Hoosiers have yet to accomplish.

That’s the goal this week.

“I still don’t think we are getting great trust on offense, in terms of guys understanding exactly how we want to play, whether that is uncharacteristic turnovers, lack of execution or things like that,” Miller said. “All in all, I think we are starting to get there. We are starting to get a little more carryover.

“We are not getting as much carryover offensively, especially in the first half when you see some of the turnovers, compared to what we are getting on defense. I think the last couple games we are starting to get a clearer picture, defensively, of what it looks like.”

With a showdown against No. 1 Duke looming next Wednesday night, Indiana is looking to find some momentum as it approaches that matchup.

After Sunday’s encouraging second half, two decisive victories would represent progress.

Arkansas State doesn’t have much size, which could pave the way for a big night for forwards De’Ron Davis, Juwan Morgan and Justin Smith. Through four games, the Red Wolves are allowing opponents to shoot 56.3 percent on two-point field goal attempts.

Arkansas State is coming off a 92-78 win over Howard on Monday night, when top scorer Ty Cockfield went off for 25 points and seven rebounds. The 5-foot-11 junior college transfer is averaging 17.8 points per contest and carries an effective field goal percentage of 64.0 into Wednesday’s game.

What the Red Wolves lack in size, they make up for with quickness. So the Hoosiers are expecting an uptempo contest featuring full-court pressure from Arkansas State.

“They want to run,” Miller said. “If we don’t take care of the ball, that’s going to be a problem. And then the second thing is handling their push and getting all five guys committed to running back. It is always the first thing we talk about every game.

“We are going to see amazing pace coming up, not only in conference but in the back half of the non-conference slate playing against terrific offensive teams. Being able to defend in transition and stay out of transition defense is huge.”

2 comments

  1. I won’t take any games for granted this year. I’m really just focused on unity and learning the system a little better game by game.

  2. How would you like to begin the first four weeks of a season with this non-conference schedule…?

    Gonzaga, OSU, Syracuse, Kansas, Clemson, Oregon, Baylor.

    What was Mike Davis thinking? I’ve seen fewer losses scheduled by the mortician at a funeral home.

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