Steady Green helping Hoosiers ahead of Big Ten Tournament

By the end of last summer, Archie Miller was optimistic.

Devonte Green, his capricious junior guard, had achieved consistency inside of his offseason approach. During Indiana’s spring and summer workouts, Green made shots, he limited the erratic play that has defined his time at IU and he seemed to demonstrate an understanding of his coach’s expectations.

Translating that offseason work to the regular season wasn’t a seamless process. For much of the 2018-19 regular season, there were still some of the same lapses, and some of the same head-scratching moments with ball handling and shot selection that undercut each of his previous two campaigns.

But with ninth-seeded Indiana’s postseason set to tip off on Thursday at 12:30 against eighth-seeded Ohio State at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, Green seems to have found a more sustainable level of play.

Right now, he’s inside of his best stretch yet as a Hoosier.

Green is scoring, he’s helping others and, most importantly, he’s executing his role as a reserve combo guard without a second thought. With IU hoping to use this week’s conference tournament as a launching pad to the NCAA Tournament, Green’s ability to maintain his steady play off the bench will be among the most important factors for Indiana’s success.

“He’s really settled in,” Miller said.

March is for guards, and right now, Indiana’s backcourt is functioning as well as any in the league. During the course of IU’s current four-game winning streak, Green, starting point guard Rob Phinisee and starter Al Durham have combined for 110 points, 33 assists and only 11 turnovers.

Green has had an active role in that success, giving IU the long-range shooting threat it has desperately needed, while managing his ball-handling errors. He is shooting 7-for-14 (50 percent) from 3-point territory during the last four games, while committing only four errors in that span.

“If you could say, ‘Hey, coach, what’s the difference, what’s going on?’ He’s a big part of it. He really is,” Miller said of IU’s late-season turnaround. “He’s given us an added backcourt guy that can come in and he’s getting double figures or he’s making good passes. Defensively, he’s making steals and getting his hands on some balls.

“Without question, the last three games, Michigan State, Illinois and (Rutgers), he’s been excellent in terms of just playing the game the right way.”

Green, a soft-spoken junior and man of few words, explains his recent run thusly:

“Just being consistent and staying focused and locked in and knocking down shots is big, of course,” he said.

A thigh bruise suffered late in the preseason prevented Green from immediately illustrating his offseason gains. Then, a three-game suspension removed him from IU’s playing rotation altogether in late January.

Once he returned from that layoff, Green again wrestled with the best and worst versions of himself. He provided a crucial lift from the bench in IU’s 79-75 overtime upset at No. 6 Michigan State on Feb. 2, hitting three 3-pointers and dishing five assists. Then, he turned around and had more turnovers (four) than points (three) in IU’s next game, a 77-72 home loss to Iowa.

But since the start of March, Green has been at his best, channeling his ever-present confidence into positive on-court contributions during IU’s quest to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“I feel like he’s just playing more confident, just playing more poised, not letting the game come fast to him, just slowing the game down in his head,” classmate De’Ron Davis said. “I feel like he’s eliminated distractions as far as he’s moving on to the next play. If he gets one turnover he’s going to make sure he’s not doing that mistake over and over, so I feel like he’s playing more poised, more calm and more confident.”

Green provided 10 points off the bench in IU’s 55-52 loss to Ohio State on Feb. 10, finishing as one of only two double-figure scorers for the Hoosiers on that frustrating afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. A positive presence from Green will once again be key to IU’s pursuit of victory in Thursday’s postseason opener against the Buckeyes.

Given his recent play, the Hoosiers are confident Green recognizes the opportunity before him.

“He knows we need him to not make flashy plays or do anything crazy,” Miller said. “He knows we need him to score baskets when he’s open, and we need him to make plays for others.”

15 comments

  1. During the course of IU’s current four-game winning streak, Green, starting point guard Rob Phinisee and starter Al Durham have combined for 110 points, 33 assists and only 11 turnovers.

    Stunning numbers…Eleven turnovers between our three guards in four games. Thank you, Archie.

  2. Does anyone get the feeling after St. Mary’s win last night that IU has to win the tournament to get in now? That is now how I fee.

    1. I tend to agree it does makes the path for IU more narrow. But they have lots of other teams sharing the same trek. I think another solid floor game by IU in winning the Buckeye game gets them in. The fella who heads the selection committee has stated that a strong look will be given to teams whose rosters suffered injuries. Something I think puts teams like Ohio State a half step behind teams disadvantaged by injuries like IU. Gotta win the game 1st.

  3. Yes it appears Miller and staff have finally gotten into the head of Green. Good coaching has developed this physically talented player for B1G BB success. He’ll really be a valuable performer next season.

  4. Green now deserves as much credit for his vastly improved play as he did criticism for his bone-headed play through much of this season. If he continues to play like he has recently, IU could really extend this winning streak.

    I don’t think IU will get into the tournament. I’ll be happy if we do, because this team has become fun to watch again and I want to see the season continue, but I think we’ll have to make it to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament before having a chance of getting to the big dance. That period where we lost 11 of 12 did too much damage, and getting blown out by MN hurt our chances.

  5. Many supposed Hoosier fans have already been proven wrong…because weeks ago they had buried this season. Those who were already pounding the final nail in the coffin should be more honest on how much they had given up on this team. Honesty is something all parents should teach their children. What is anything without honesty?
    Whether we get into the tournament or not is up to those in a committee room who may find it easier to pretend to not know why we lost those 11 of 12. But believe me, they know it happened because we had no Phinisee. You can’t make a dishonest man honest, but If we had a healthy point guard through that losing stretch, we’d not rely on the ‘valid reasons’ of those who deceptively want to honestly keep us out.

  6. Reading somewhere – 5 highest paid coaches projected to miss ‘the tourney’. CAM was third and CTC was tied for 5th.

    True HH, I gave up a couple of weeks ago. Recorded a couple of games instead of watching, The OS game, I was in the Everglades kind of trying to find a python. Happy I did not see one. My son, not so much.

    Either NCAA or NIT, whichever, These kids have played hard enough over the last two weeks to deserve more games. NIT could be interesting.

  7. There’s still hope to get into the NCAA tournament. Bob Knight likes Archie. Trump likes Bob Knight. Maybe Bob Knight can ask Trump to pardon our mid-season losing streak?

  8. I understand everyone wants there team to make it to the Big Dance. But would Archie’s program be better off playing several games in the NIT or departing the NCAA early? If we’re in the NCAA, we’ll be a very low seed and probably lose the first game. But in theory, we could play four games in the NIT, allowing the players returning next season that much more time to learn to play with each other and get experience lost to injuries.

    Your thoughts?

  9. We defeated MSU twice….Let’s hope we can dispose of OSU and do MSU trice as fast a third time.
    Any team that defeated a very good MSU team home and away…and is now limiting turnovers in historically impressive numbers is not going to go down easily in the NCAA tournament(no matter the seed match-up).

    It would be a disservice to the spirit of the process from which the selection committee supposedly now holds as salient to keep the Hoosiers out of the Big Dance. We are one of the hottest teams in the nation currently. We have some of the most Quad 1 wins in the conference(maybe even top 10 in the country). We have a lottery pick game-changer and a team running on all cylinders. It would seem beyond anticlimactic to relegate us to the NIT. I know I would be thoroughly disappointed to not see our finally healthy Hoosiers get the chance to shine in the only tournament that matters.

    NIT = Nobody Important Tournament

  10. Butler getting destroyed by Providence…
    Notre Dame getting destroyed by Louisville…

    No Bulldogs in the dance…No Irish in the dance….No Sycamores…No Valparaiso….No Ball State….No Mastodons…No IUPUI.

    You mean to tell me that the only team from the greatest basketball state in the nation, Indiana, is going dancing with just one crumbling tournament team from West Lafayette-to-have-banner?

    Not so long ago, the state of Indiana placed six teams in the Big Dance. The selection committee has to take more than one…wouldn’t you think?

  11. It’s all speculation of course, but here’s what the Washington Post projects….

    Tulsa

    (3) SEC/LSU vs. (14) SUN BELT/Georgia State

    (6) Iowa State vs. (11) Indiana

    They also think 9 teams from the BIG …and 9 from the ACC get in.

  12. Yes, not to long ago I thought IU was done for season. I also stated Duke fans were ready to run coach K out of town right before his turn around. But yes, I had given up on IU basketball and didn’t see much positive in sight. That is because I didn’t know what I was talking about.

  13. I think you know what you’re talking about, t.

    Same with Crocodile ‘Ron’ Dundee….

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