Highlights from Archie Miller’s weekly radio show

Archie Miller’s weekly radio show returned to the airwaves Thursday after a one-week break.

Highlights from Miller’s appearance follow:

— After the Tennessee Tech win last Thursday, Miller gave his players four days to go home and recharge. Since they returned for a Tuesday practice, Miller has been pleased with the energy he’s seen: “It’s always nice to get a few days of quiet time and spend some time with your family. It helps when you win that last game before you depart from campus, but it’s a nice time to get a deep breath. … We were trying to give those guys a few days. I feel it’s really important for those guys to enjoy Christmas.”

— On being a “raving lunatic” in practice after the Fort Wayne loss. “It’s really the truth. To be honest, you can’t take anything for granted. Every rep, every opportunity has to be laser-focused. I feel like we prepared really hard. We were really disappointed, maybe as disappointed (a team) as I’ve been around with the game performance with Fort Wayne, but the days after that we worked really hard, went back at it and we played that way. We played a lot harder. Our guys, for the most part, strung together good stretches.”

— On the lack of size for this year’s team: “If you look at our team in general, and it’s one of the things that has been an adjustment as we prepare for some of these teams, we’re small in the backcourt with three perimeter guys. Juwan (Morgan) and De’Ron (Davis) are good-size guys, but as we come in (from the bench), we come in with undersized guys or other young guys. We have no room for error in some areas — rebounding and 50-50 balls. You almost have to get every one of them. … We have to be able to shoot the ball better to help our cause.”

— On establishing roles and rotations as the bulk of Big Ten play begins next week: “We’ve hit a lot of peaks and valleys. Sometimes we have had a rotation go (well) and have gotten things out of it, but then the rotation is inconsistent so we search for another one. But these guys have an opportunity every day to improve and, like I told them, if you give great effort, most of the time good things will happen for you. … There’s a hope that the consistency and chemistry continue to evolve. There are certain teams that enter conference play and really haven’t found their niche, but they can find it and hit their stride.”

— On the types of players he likes to recruit: “One thing that stands out is competitiveness — winning background, guys that have played at a high level, have competed under the bright lights against other good players and have played for winning programs. They’re used to winning and accustomed to it.”

— On signee Robert Phinisee, a point guard from McCutcheon who is averaging 30 points and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range this season: “He’s had a lot of pressure on him. He’s on a different team than he’s had in the past. He’s had a tremendous start to the season in terms of point production and production overall. One of the things he’s really spent a lot of time on is his outside shot.”

— On his thoughts about the Big Ten this season: “You keep tabs on your league because the non-conference thing is a huge (component) in the NCAA Tournament dynamic. I think our league took some hits in November, but has gotten better as we’ve gone on. … It’s playing out where Michigan State and Purdue have gotten off to fantastic starts. They look to be Final Four programs. From that point, everyone else is kind of in the middle. … It’s going to be a multiple-bid league. How many teams on paper? I couldn’t say. But right now I feel it’s top heavy with two studs. From that point, I think it could go a lot of different directions.”

— On the gains freshman Race Thompson has made since stepping onto campus in August. Thompson, who would’ve been a high school senior this winter before reclassifying, is redshirting the season. “Race is about as improved a player as we have on our team.”

— On IU allowing opponents to shoot 40.5 percent from beyond the arc. “We have a lot of problems. In some of our coverages and stuff, we’re not as good as we need to be. Transition defense is always a challenge and we seem to be getting better there. The one thing that will start and stop as we get into Big Ten play is our 3-point percentage defense. Is it coming down?”

— On tapering practices as the season nears a midpoint: “Once you hit January, in my opinion, you shouldn’t be practicing more than an hour and a half, an hour and 45 minutes. In many ways, they’ll be your long days. If you’re on a one-day turnaround, you won’t be on the floor any more than 45-60 minutes. No more than an hour, hour and 15 in February.”