Highlights from Archie Miller’s weekly radio show

On Monday’s edition of his weekly radio show, Indiana basketball coach Archie Miller recapped the first week of the regular season and previewed IU’s upcoming slate against Marquette and Arkansas.

Highlights from Miller’s appearance follow.

First, some injury updates:
— Devonte Green continues to recover from a thigh contusion
— Zach McRoberts is dealing with a lower back strain.
— Race Thompson was involved in a collision during Sunday’s practice and could miss upcoming games with concussion-like symptoms.

— On the opening week: “I thought early in the week against Chicago State, we did some really good things against their zone. We were able to take advantage of the size component we had in the paint and guys did a really good job of being unselfish. … It was a much better defensive performance against Montana State on Friday, so we actually improved in some areas. There’s a red alert right now in terms of what we’re about to run into this week. We’re trying to establish improvement from that standpoint. We’ve had a good couple days of work and we’ll have one more before Wednesday.”

— On ball movement: “We don’t have very many guys forcing action. Our last two games, I thought Romeo in the first four minutes had four to six assist-type passes. … I think we have a pretty good team in understanding where we want to get the ball and how we want to do it.”

— On shooting struggles: “I think it’ll get better because I still think the shot quality from 3 can continue to get good. We have a lot of guys that, quite frankly, have not practiced a ton. … Free throw shooting can become contagious. Early in the season, we’ve spent a lot of time putting our guys in situations in practice and also concentrating on things that we’ll have to do better against good teams. The guys that are getting fouled right now, they have to step up with confidence. It’s concerning through our first two games, but I also think we’ll improve in both areas.”

— On Wednesday’s game vs. Marquette: “I think they’ll be right there to win the Big East. They have a veteran group that really is (one of) the most efficient and hardest teams to cover this season. … They’re very good in transition, very hard to guard in the half court. They will be one of the hardest teams we have to guard and cover. It’s early in the year, so it will be a test.”

— On how IU matches with Marquette: “They have great size on the wing spots. Their frontcourt, they can play very sturdy with Theo John and they can bring Ed Morrow off the bench. In the 4 slot, they can play with skill, with a shooter on the floor. They’re very complicated with their schemes. For us, it’ll come down to how hard we can play. You aren’t going to be perfect. We’re gonna have to muddy it up in the half court, muddy it up on the glass. For us, it’ll be how hard can we play at home, how much energy can we get in our building.”

— On Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski: “Steve was a senior at Duke was I was a freshman (at NC State). We played against each other. He was a tenacious competitor. … He coaches his team with the same passion. He’s done a great job recruiting. I think this is by far his best and deepest team.”

— On Juwan Morgan’s command of the team: “Without a doubt, he had a great week last week, I thought, just leadership-wise. At the beginning of the season, every team is going through highs and lows, whether you’re playing exhibitions or home openers. … He’s got to be in charge of our team and our locker room and he has a responsibility every day in practice to make sure we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s not easy to do, but he has done about as well as you can.”

— A listener asked if this is Miller’s longest team: “Without question. We have guys that have amazing wingspans. Usually, you measure it at plus-two, plus-four, plus-six based off their height. Romeo is 6-foot-6, but he has a 6-11 wingspan, so that’s plus-five. We have a number of guys that are plus-four or plus-five. That length is great on the perimeter.”

— On the flagrant foul against Justin Smith: “There’s a new rule in college basketball that it’s an automatic flagrant 1 … it’s called an arm-locking foul. They’re trying to eliminate that under the basket, in the post so you don’t hook a guy’s arm and as he jumps, you hold him down. It’s basically a tangled call. There are guys in our conference that are good at it. … It’s a terrible rule to give a team two free throws and the ball back for a non-intentional kind of call when it’s 50-50 and they have to go to the monitor. It’s one more thing for them to slow down the game. But they’re trying to get that arm-locking and grabbing and holding in the post. Usually it happens when you’re on the weak side and getting ready to deal with a block out.”

— A listener asked about Damezi Anderson’s early development: “He’s come a long way. He really has. He’s been one of the young guys thrown into the fire here early. He’s gotten his confidence where he’s out there involved and having to produce. He’s come a long way in terms of his defensive understanding. He’s a big, strong, fast kid. I think he can end up being a good defender for us in time because he’s athletic and strong. He’s doing a good job for us now. He’ll be tested heavy on Wednesday because now he’s dealing with guys as big. But he’ll get better as he works in practice.”

— A listener asked why Miller chose to schedule Arkansas: “I think, No. 1, Mike Anderson is a great coach. Arkansas is a traditional SEC power and a great opponent that can test you with pressure defense and motion. More importantly, it’s us having to go on the road and get tested. Then, next season, we have a great opponent in Arkansas coming back to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.”

— A listener asked Miller to name the strongest players on the team: “I would say the strongest player, pound for pound, is probably Juwan based on some of the records he broke this summer with his legs. Rob Phinisee is strong as well.”

— A listener asked if Justin Smith has improved his finishing: “I think so. I think you’re seeing Justin finish with more authority on the break and on the baseline. … He’s much better on the attack and better around the basket in terms of being able to play through contact.”

— A listener asked how Evan Fitzner is fitting in: “He’s been coached a certain way for so long. To come in here and adapt to what we’re doing is really good. He stretches the floor, clearly, but he’s got good length. … He’s very crafty and has great touch around the basket. The thing he has to really, really be consumed with is (growing) on the defensive end.”

— A listener asked for Miller’s thoughts on Marquette leading scorer Markus Howard: “I think you want to try and make him a passer as best you can. That’s something all great scorers don’t want to do. They want to get going early. … You’ll have to pick him up higher on the floor and get walls around him, people and bodies in gaps and not let him get downhill. The other thing he does a great job of is, in ball screens, he’s that guy that keeps his dribble going as long as he can exhaust it. … You just have to stay with it. In two or three minutes, he can take the air out of a building.”

— On his final thoughts for the week: “We’re excited to play. Hopefully, we can get as healthy as we can. If we can’t, we’ll get the guys that are ready to roll, ready to roll. I’m excited for the environment on Wednesday. I think that’ll be electric.”