Highlights from Archie Miller’s weekly radio show

Indiana coach Archie Miller reconvened with play-by-play man Don Fischer on Thursday night for the latest episode of Inside IU Basketball.

Highlights from Miller’s appearance follow:

— On how the team has handled finals week, juggling practice with studying: “You’re constantly looking for practice time. It’s a longer week, but there’s got to be a little give and take with the mental fatigue and actual exams. There’s a lot that goes into that. It’s no different here than anywhere. We’ve had a good week mixing in the practice times.”

— On reaching the end of the semester and the unlimited basketball activity time that comes with it: “Once we’re done with finals, we’re on holiday break. That means unlimited, however you want to look at it. But we try to be smart. It’s a great time to be a player. It’s one of the best times of your career because you’re practicing, then you get a chance to be yourself and hang out with the guys on the team and mix in some games. It’s a time you can really improve as a player and improve as a team. You have to be wise in how you use your day, but as an individual player, this is a time you can really get going.”

— On his reaction to last weekend’s loss at Louisville: “Just not being able to score the last six minutes and not making open shots, finishing some things off and scoring against their defense was problematic the last four, five minutes. But I give our guys credit. Going into a hostile environment, I thought we had some of our best defensive moments of the season.”

— On being able to get the ball inside against the Cardinals: “Their size is tremendous, but you can’t play around the perimeter against their length. You have to get the ball into the paint. They played a matchup zone and had a lot of switching, but I thought we were patient. I thought De’Ron (Davis) and Juwan (Morgan) not playing the first half, that hurt us on offense. We made some more shots in the first half and our defense got us into some offense, but in the second half it was a much more concerted effort to work the ball in down low.”

— On IU’s 15 turnovers in that game: “Probably four happened in the last few minutes and a couple were pick-sixes. Realistically, we probably played 38 minutes under 12, 13 turnovers. We had a couple at the end that weren’t very good. That’s where it’s gonna have to come to grips with our guards. Those guys have to step up and understand that the last four minutes, there’s nothing more important than taking care of the ball. Not running our offense has been costing us some games, not playing well down the stretch.”

— On Al Durham, who committed five turnovers against Louisville after entering play with five total in the previous nine games: “They were a little bit of everything — you’re on the road, (you’re going against) great length and quickness, having to read and react. Al’s really dialed in heading into this big stretch. All young guys, they go through ups and downs. I think just in general, Al didn’t have a great floor game at Louisville. He needed to be a little sharper and stronger with his passing. He’ll get better at that as time goes on. … We had nine turnovers at point guard. That’s not gonna get it done.”

— On IU’s shooting woes, particularly from beyond the arc: “I think it’ll come around. Part of it is learning to play in a new style with players who haven’t played a lot together. I think we’re a better shooting team than we’ve shown. I think some of the percentages can go up, especially from 3. I also think we’re a team that has to continue to figure out what is a great shot for our team and how do we hit that guy that can make that shot and finding him on target. Don’t miss the extra pass. I think our shooting will get better. Louisville, statistically, is a great defensive team and they don’t get you a lot of good looks because of their switching. You don’t get a ton of great 3s, but I thought in the second half we had a couple good looks. So far, our shooting has not been as expected. I think that’s a good sign because I think it can come around.”

— On Robert Johnson: “Rob is as consumed with being in the gym as any player that I’ve been around. You think the law of averages will come crack in and he’ll get going a little bit behind the line.”

— On what he makes of the progress IU has made spanning the first month: “We’ve gotten better every week, almost every game. I felt, even the Louisville game, there were some signs there that we’re starting to figure things out, especially defensively. It’s definitely a team that has a lot of room to keep improving. It’s definitely a team that, if we stay with it, we’ll continue to improve. … Right now, the big focus is on halfcourt defense, becoming a better (defensive) team and (having) more discipline. On offense, we’re trying to become a more unselfish group.”

— On IU’s ability to reduce turnovers this season: “I think there’s an emphasis every day in practice. There’s a penalty for turning the ball over. We only give our (players) seven turnovers a practice per team, red and white, then they gotta run. You’re putting pressure on them daily to do it. … The other thing is just understanding how we want to play — what’s a good shot, what’s a good read?”

— Miller said each of his three assistants, Tom Ostrom, Bruiser Flint and Ed Schilling, have what he calls “core player groups” of three or four (maybe more) players on the roster. “They’re responsible for a total understanding of what that player is going through every day from home life to academics, health, basketball. You have to be in charge of that guy. That’s your core group that you deal with. (For example), it’s like, ‘Hey, Devonte (Green) had three tests today. He might be out of gas. You might want to give him a break.'” Miller added that Schilling spends most of his time working with guards and Flint focuses on frontcourt work.

— On using the three non-conference games after this weekend to get lesser-used players some work: “I think we’re searching for depth, searching for more answers. We’re looking for guys to break through and get more consistent. As you get through Notre Dame, you’re coming on a one-day prep for IPFW, then turn around and get two more in before Big Ten continues. We’re trying to use as many bullets in our gun as we can. Right now, we’re settling in with our rotation, but like I told the guys, there’s always room to improve. Once you improve and get an opportunity to get in there, that’s your time to take advantage of it.”

2 comments

  1. I would love to see Clifton Moore turn a corner soon. He is obviously having some issues adjusting to the speed and talent level of the college game or else he would be playing more. He just seems like he has some real potential. If Archie could get him in the mix I think you start seeing a different team. It’s not a hard game plan against IU now…get davis or Morgan in foul trouble early and there isn’t much left in the cupboard. The worst is the first half when one of them gets 2 fouls early on.

    I find it interesting both Miller and Crean have seen the need to utilize McRoberts. It’s hard to justify having him in there but at the same time it’s hard to justify him not being in there.

    The core player groups is an excellent idea. Miller is building a program with a solid foundation. i really like the Miller hire. Its refreshing.

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