After taking ‘medicine,’ Hoosiers face Nebraska

When a week of ups and downs led into an up, Indiana coach Archie Miller was asked to reflect on its usefulness.

From a 16-point win over then-Florida State to a 20-point defeat at Wisconsin, the Hoosiers seemed to take a step forward in a three-point win against UConn. The question is whether an inexperienced, imperfect team needs an experience like the one in Madison to breed results like the one at Madison Square Garden.

“You don’t need to get drilled like … we got drilled on Saturday, but you need to take your medicine,” Miller said. “Some guys don’t like their medicine. I thought the last couple of days, obviously, the ante goes up, the pressure goes up, the coaching starts to take a little bit of a fold where you are starting to hold guys more accountable for some of the mistakes we got away with a few weeks ago.”

IU (9-1) can do without suffering at the level of last weekend’s Wisconsin loss, but there were bound to be growing pains. As the Hoosiers approach their second conference matchup with Nebraska tonight, they hope to be just a little bit more mature, building toward consistent.

Tuesday’s result showed the Hoosiers can weather an early deficit, which they couldn’t last Saturday. There was more intensity on the defensive end Tuesday, as well, which was mostly lacking versus the Badgers.

And in what’s been a rarity all season, the Hoosiers had all of their pieces Tuesday. Rob Phinisee, who has missed half of IU’s games thus far, returned to the court and didn’t appear hobbled versus the Huskies.

Having all 11 scholarship players available and contributing only made the Hoosiers more versatile, but it’s still a process for all of those pieces to mesh together.

“We just have to be really mindful around each other every day, how hard it is to coexist with 11 players that expect to play,” Miller said. “But if we are about the right things and we play the right way and it’s about the win, at the end of the day, this team has a chance to be pretty good.”

Miller has very specific ideas about what the Hoosiers’ best self looks like, and he’s been reiterating those points since the season began. This team needs to rebound, defend, and get to the free throw line.

In some of those ways, the Hoosiers have been a success. They rank first in the nation in free throw attempts (285) and makes (201). On the glass, they are 18th in the country in rebounding margin (plus-9 per game).

Defensively, it’s been up and down. The Hoosiers were lax versus the Badgers but pulled out a slugfest versus the Huskies. Communication is something that continues to be harped upon as IU’s progression continues.

“We’re a mindful team, and that’s a big thing for this team, to step outside of your comfort zone a little bit,” Miller said. “It’s not OK to just go about your business quietly. We don’t have that advantage. Our team has to come more together, but we have to learn how to talk.”

In timeouts, Miller has noticed a few players emerge. Junior Al Durham, a captain, has been a constant. But Miller noticed senior forward De’Ron Davis, who has played more limited minutes, chipping in vocally. Even freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis has been more outspoken.

If the Hoosiers can hold together, the schedule offers a chance to build some momentum. With non-conference wins over FSU and UConn already in the bag, only Nebraska (4-5), Notre Dame (7-3) and Arkansas (8-1) stand between the Hoosiers and the Big Ten-only portion of their schedule.

The Cornhuskers, under first-year coach Fred Hoiberg, are trying just as much to find themselves. They have lost three out of their last four games, and in those double-digit defeats, Nebraska has connected on 31.5 percent of its shots in first halves.

There is an opportunity here for the Hoosiers to get a lead in the friendly confines of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and pick up a 10th win — a much different scenario than last time out versus the Huskies.

“I’ve said this from the very beginning, I think this team has a chance to be pretty good,” Miller said. “We grew up a little bit this week.”

8 comments

  1. This Nebraska team is the worst Big Ten team in the history of the conference. They should go winless…

    …so if course they are winning in Assembly Hall….

    We’re an absolutely mess…

  2. Cool hairdos…Cool posturing…Cool acting shoulder shimmy after any made shot…Cool on the bench…Cool hand slaps…Cool shoe deals….Cool for the cheerleaders…Cool for the family and friends in the stands….Cool on Kirkwood…Cool in classroom.
    Everybody(including our new coach) is just too damn cool for school. Sadly, most of it comes across as fake swag.
    Leadership and grit are true rarities in college basketball anymore. Entitlement is the name of the game.

    Drop all the friggin’ cool and just play like it means something to you.

  3. Nice to see the start of the 2nd half has found our cool guards figuring out we have a nonathletic big named Jackson-Davis….(Just look for a very tall Groot).

  4. I’m convinced that we don’t need shooters ..seems that the players that hit the 3 pointers are “heavers”..they just grab ball and heave it toward the basket.

  5. This is absolutely horrendous. To come out and play like this against a team that lost to UC Riverside and Southern Utah. AND they are down 1 starter.

    A team that has this level of talent, struggles against a team that would probably get beat in the HYPER, needs some major changes. I guess this is what we get when Green is one of our captains. He missed his first shot, then he gave up on defense and looks completely disinterested out there. And, here, I believed everyone who said he was a totally different person. Can only go on what I read. I guess it was total crap. He looks like someone who’d rather have stayed in NYC than come home to play a Big Ten Game.

    I have no words for Indiana Basketball anymore after tonight. This team looks more like the one that played in Madison a week ago, vs the one against FSU.

    As of this point, I don’t think this team is going to make it back to the NCAAs. Looks like we could have some LONG stretches of collecting Ls if this is the level of heart we can expect from them.

  6. DD, I agree with your comments above 100%! IU stunk up the court tonight.

    While watching the game tonight, I found myself thinking that this IU team is mentally weak. They’re mentally soft. These boys don’t know how to close out games. Over and over and over they allowed NE to stay in the game. Every time they had the chance to put the game away, they played stupid or soft and allowed NE to get back in the game.

    Archie has got to recruit guys who can shoot. 20% from 3-point range is terrible, especially on their home court.

  7. Archie Miller, “We can’t guard the ball. We’re getting beat off the bounce. Our guard play defensively isn’t very good. We were five steps too slow. We’ve shown we can be better.”

    I’m completely baffled by this team. I have no idea what we have, other than I’m pretty grossed out by what I saw in 2 of their last 3 games. I’m officially worried about how they’ll end up in March.

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