IU one-and-done at B1G tourney, falling 61-50 to Rutgers

There were only a couple thousand fans in the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium, but the Hoosiers could hear them.

After a dreary season in near-empty arenas, Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis found himself dunking in transition during a second-half run, slapping the backboard as a partisan crowd in Indianapolis roared. But once the air came out of the Hoosiers’ offense Thursday in a 61-50 loss to Rutgers in their opening Big Ten tournament game, the crowd turned.

Chants of “Fire Archie” became more than audible.

A disappointing season had finally met its end, and Jackson-Davis was defending his coaches, including Archie Miller, saying it wasn’t the staff’s fault that the Hoosiers were missing shots. They missed 13 in a row to end Thursday’s game, taking their success rate down to 37.5% on the night.

But the culmination of a frustrating season earned a visceral response. This IU team lost six straight games to end the season, as an up-and-down season went straight down. This team, including its coach, had lost a fraction of its fans, as  IU will most certainly miss the NCAA tournament yet again, a killer blow after last year’s opportunity at March Madness was stolen away.

IU (12-15) aimed to be better than this, but just fell short, again and again. Cheers turning into boos was hard for Jackson-Davis to hear in what could be his final game in a Hoosier uniform.

“It’s sad that we disappointed them,” Jackson-Davis said, “and that’s something we’re just going to have to live with.”

Miller was contrite about the Hoosiers’ issues postgame. They just didn’t have enough depth in the frontcourt, especially after Joey Brunk missed the season to a back injury. IU’s guard play wasn’t up to snuff, especially the Hoosiers’ ability to hit 3-point shots. They hit just 13-of-74 from deep in their last four games of the season, including 2-of-16 on Thursday.

That led to some tough questions. When Miller was asked about the chants in the stands, he said he didn’t hear them. When asked if he believes he will be back next season, Miller said he’s not worried about that.

“I’m not entering any offseason wondering if I’m gonna be back. Those decisions are made higher up than me,” Miller said. “My job is to coach the team.”

If he is afforded a fifth year, it’s Miller’s job to take stock and find a way out of this NCAA tournament drought, which still dates back to 2016.  This year, the Hoosiers will not make a tournament that’s going to be hosted entirely within their state’s borders. First-round games will be played at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, but the Hoosiers’ season is over.

“Like every program at this time, you have to take inventory,” Miller said. “Like I told our team, the expectations coming into this year, coming into this league, there was a lot of uncertainty about how things were going to work. We got our opportunities, and we didn’t cash in on them. And performance matters. Our performance here this season was inconsistent.”

Inconsistencies led to a myriad of close losses, and this one was no different. IU played with heart and hustle in the first half, building a 21-11 lead. Jackson-Davis was especially active, scoring 11 of his team-high 19 points in the first 10-plus minutes of the game. The 6-foot-9 forward was running the floor, dunking, and he was able to get his left hand working on post-ups in the halfcourt.

The pieces around Jackson-Davis were performing, too. Rob Phinisee attacked the basket for a layup. He also fed Jackson-Davis for an alley-oop slam. Al Durham hit a key 3-pointer to start things off. Race Thompson, who was able to start despite an ankle injury, took a steal the length of the floor for points.

Defensively, IU was able to hold Rutgers to 4-of-17 shooting to start the game, along with 0-of-6 from 3-point range.

But then, as often has been the case, the Hoosiers faded. Rutgers made its next four shots from beyond the arc. The Knights made nine of their final 12 field goal attempts overall going into the half, feasting on IU’s busted coverages, as well as some ballhandling miscues. Phinisee, for one, tossed a lazy pass that was intercepted by Geo Baker, taken the length of the floor for a dunk.

That sent the Knights (15-10) into the half ahead, 33-32, because the Hoosiers didn’t score in the final 2:46 of the frame.

The game ended up on a seesaw in the second half, both teams going blow for blow. Eventually, both lost their wits offensively, and play became somewhat frenetic. The slightest spark was bound to be the difference, and Paul Mulcahy found it for the Knights.

Mulcahy connected on two 3-pointers to give Rutgers its largest lead, 55-48, with 5:32 remaining. Two free throws from Durham would eventually break a scoring drought of 7:15 for the Hoosiers, cutting the deficit to five. But on a missed 3-pointer from Mulcahy, Myles Johnson was able to tap in a rebound over Phinisee in the paint and pushed it back to 57-50 with under two minutes left.

IU just couldn’t make a shot, even at the free throw line. Phinisee missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities, starving IU of a chance to close. Jackson-Davis had already come up empty on another key pair during that long scoring drought. IU finished 6-of-15 from the free throw line, including 2-of-8 in the second half.

Not the kind of effort IU needed, in any respect.

“I don’t think it was anything to do with the fact our offense was the way that it was or blaming the coaches or anything. I feel like we had a lot of good shots, we had layups, but we just point-blank missed them,” Jackson-Davis. “We missed eight free throws down the stretch. If we made them, we would have been up 58-57.

“Our inability to put the ball in the basket just killed us.”

Jackson-Davis now has a tough decision on his hands, whether to stay another year or try for the next level. He said he will wait a few weeks before thinking over his options.

“Right now, I’m not worried about that,” Jackson-Davis said. “I’ll get all the feedback I need, and then I’ll go from there with my decision.”

Right then, the Hoosiers were just sitting in agony.

Sophomore guard Armaan Franklin, who played through a foot injury, was visibly downcast after the game. He was asked about the frustrations of falling short, again.

“It’s very frustrating, it’s the first round, not making the NCAA tournament. We just have to keep building, stick to what we’re doing, trusting each other, trusting the coaches, and keep moving forward,” Franklin said. “Not dwelling on the past, but looking to the future.”

Miller was trying to stay focused on the future, as well.

“You gotta make sure we are doing everything you can to progress and get better,” Miller said, “which I know we will.”

95 comments

  1. 6 points in 10 minutes. You have to be kidding me. Some IU fans at Lucas Oil now chanting “Fire Archie”. This is bad and embarrassing as an IU fan. So upset had to repeat. IU Women didn’t show up either.

  2. No firepower whatsoever its sad and painful watching them on the offensive end sheesh.smh

    1. Offense yes, but turnovers, Rutgers with guys shooting 3’s with no defender within 20′,…..’bricks’ from the field and even worse at the line…There isn’t a boys or girls team in the IHSAA tourney that is that pathetic from the line. Actually,…it’s almost surrealistic.

  3. Hoosier fans were more embarrassing than the team today. I don’t care how frustrated we are, booing college kids is classless. When did Indiana fans all end up with the emotional capacity of Brad?

    1. DD: Hey j_____s,…I wasn’t at the game!
      Get off it! What I did witness on my TV was the worst IU team, maybe in the history of the program. 2 foul shots made, 14 missed in the last 11 minutes, no field goals. As a side, Rob Phinisee IS THE worst point guard, at any collegiate level, I have seen in person or on TV since paying attention since the 50’s. As for Miller; Zero in B1G tournament, a losing record in conference over his 4 years, 0-3 versus Rutgers this year…and a 6 game, end of season, losing streak!
      As for you ‘DD’,..you are about as qualified to rate my “emotional capacity” as Archie is to run this ballclub,…excrutiatingly incompetent.
      By the way, as far as coaching qualifications are concerned, Rutgers’ Pickiell is 57 and his only college head coaching job was at Stoneybrook of the American East Conference. I think Fife’s resume’ might compare pretty well.

    2. Let me tell you what’s embarrassing. ‘Homers’ with crimson colored lenses that find it impossible to look and assess something objectively, then recklessly, rudely lash out at those who do. As for booing,..it beats barfing in the seats.

      1. Brad, when they can’t win the debate or dismiss the facts that you present, they call you names or try to dismiss you. Not much different from the behavior from children on a playground in elementary school. You have to understand that your critics are emotionally invested in Archie and that prohibits them from seeing things clearly. They’re invested in the style of play Archie coaches and some of his behavioral characteristics that they identify with. That investment allows them to defend Archie, blame his predecessor, continue to argue that he needs more time and attack Archie’s critics. If you suggest to these people that the majority of Hoosier BB fans have lost confidence in Archie and/or lost interest in his program, they’ll attack you in all sorts of little digs. They simply can’t accept that their guy, and the style of play he coaches isn’t working.

        I some times think, based on their continued support of an obviously failing program, that they value the style of BB that Archie coaches more than they do IU winning BB games.

      1. You sir (or madam) are an overbearing, judgemental boor. You’re also apparently not too bright when it comes to basketball.

        1. It’s been a tough year. Throwing tantrums on the internet must feel like catharsis. If you want to take your frustrations out on me, I’ll gladly take them.

          1. I ‘like’ how you try to turn things around. You’re the one that made the libelous analysis. It’s pretty much your M.O. A classic example of ignoring the problem and taking it out on the messenger.

  4. Never boo kids. That is sad. Hopefully boos were meant for the conductor of this mess but never boo 17-22 year olds. Sad.

    1. Agreed Jeff. Especially this year. These kids showed up and took a the risk of covid to play this year.

      They played terribly, most of this year, but fans need to grow up and get some perspective.

    2. There are a number of professional athletes 19-22 that are subject to crowd displeasure every night. I’ve been at high school games where there was booing. You’re right, in that this ‘performance’ and the season for that matter, were SO BAD that IU fans booooed for one of the few times in program history. It might be ‘unseemly’ but sometimes it’s called for. Maybe Archie and his squad should be awarded ‘participation medals’.

        1. I’ve never booed while attending a college or High School sporting event in person. I’ve never booed the players or the coaches. Since attending my first IU FB and BB events as a young child (at age seven), my parents forbid booing. If I was ever caught booing, I’d get such a butt whupping that I’d still have the bruises. I do confess however, that I have booed at NFL games and joined in with IU fans booing the refs on more than one occasion. The last time was at the IU/MSU FB game in Bloomington a couple years ago when the refs clearly influenced the outcome of that game. TA was going nuts on the sideline and he had 40,000 IU fans backing him up.

  5. This poorly constructed team, led by a floundering, inept coach saw their season end just as expected! HELP!

  6. Same _ _ _ _ different game.
    Same personnel. Same start. Same finish. Same staff.

    6-15 FT, outscored by 1 there
    2-16 3 pt, outscored by 12 there
    It all Adds up to an 11 pt loss.

    Really we were 6-18 from the line, missing the front end of 3 1 & 1’s. We also missed 8 point blank shots, I looked at the shot chart on ESPN. (But, so did they.)

    We played really well for the 1st 14 min. & the reality of the law of averages took over yet again. Same strong start. Same epic collapse.

    A LOT of soul searching for the next 8 months shall ensue from the top down. Fact is, after an epic collapse in all facets of the season (3-9 in the last 12) we simply don’t have the talent.

    And I wonder, who would want to play at IU? The fans have 1976, 1981 & 1987 aspirations & expectations. The fans just booed their “beloved” program off the floor. The media is going to have a field day.

  7. ^^^ & let that be my 2021 final final. Much love & health to all of you. Thanks for your insights & opinions along the way. I don’t always agree & don’t have to. But I love IU & the state that shaped my life & gave me so much.

  8. This was an embarrassing loss, in front of the only live crowd the Hoosiers played in front of all season – in Indy. The same story every game – fast start, bad streak before the half where we loose the lead, totally disorganized in the second half where we hit no threes and pray to the heavens every time we go to the free-throw line. This cannot continue. I cannot remember hearing such loud boos (I was listening to the radio broadcast) in all the decades since I graduated from IU. Isn’t there some specialist coach that travels the country and for an outrageous fee drills into players how to make free throws? Please, bring him – or her – in for a consultation! If I have to watch TJD and the others approach the line nonchalantly and toss up free throws that go everywhere but the basket, ugh.

  9. as far as the media inferring the BOO’s at 17-22 year old isn’t the case; UNFORTUNATELY , Archie Miller has paraded them out in front of people as representative of HIS philosophy and program development. I listened to Podcast and agree with the 3 commentators ; there has not been any player development while Miller has coached and they dont expect things to get any better next year because he doesnt develop players and their skills. Miller knew after LAST year the team needed someone who could shoot and yet a year later discussing a team that shoots worse than blind man taking target practice with a shotgun. ONCE AGAIN let me state; Archie Miller Doesnt Develop player skills and what you saw last year and was repeated this year will again be exhibited Next year… Archie Miller has made this team an ECHO looking for a place to stop.

    1. Thank you TJ. I’m afraid this board is, and has been, filled with posters in denial and excuses. Honest appraisal seems to be in short supply.

  10. Miller said. “My job is to coach the team.”
    No you were hired to lead the program. Coaches are a dime a dozen. Leaders are priceless.

  11. I also want to thank everyone for their comments. It’s interesting and insightful to get different perspectives. Until next season, stay healthy and let’s enjoy our blessings.

  12. How can anybody in their right mind be a faithful supporter of Archie Miller at this point? End the season by losing six in a row? Two of them to mighty Rutgers, who sadly appears to have momentarily passed IU in terms of relevance in the BigTen. Oh what sad times are these for IU basketball. But for 10 million reasons, there is no way Archie Miller could possibly remain IU’s coach for next year. Hope springs eternal; Go Hoosiers!

    1. I feel no misgivings about ‘right mind’. I still am a Coach Miller advocate. 1000%

      1. Po. as you accurately describe the current IU BB program, you go on and on about the need for a new coach and better players. Than you acknowledge CAM will be here next year?

  13. Archie must go. Each season is a rerun of the previous. Has gotten some of the best players in the state only to coach them down. If there is a shred of a reason to keep him, I am missing it.

  14. So, if IU does decide to let Archie go, where does IU turn next.

    Brad Stephens: At least have to make the call and find out the number. That cost you nothing.
    Dane Fife: Brings immediate enthusiasm and could get for a small price tag but put incentives in contract to up that number to the league average. (i.e. wins, finish in Big Ten, making NCAA)
    Beard (Texas Tech): Would he leave where he is finding decent success, but hasn’t figured out how to get past Kansas and Baylor and win conference. May have reached ceiling at TT.
    I know he just signed a contract extension, but do you look at someone like Nate Oats at Alabama that has taken a football powerhouse into the top 10 in basketball? Or do they reach out to a retread like John Beilein and see if there is interest? Thoughts?

  15. I’ll be impatiently waiting everyday over this off season of misery to see the news that Archie is canned. Please, please , please, I literally don’t care who we get at this point. No more of this nonsense. There needs to be joy in Hoosierville again!

    1. Don’t hold your breath bigalfowler. IU doesn’t have or doesn’t want to spend the money required to buy out his contract.

  16. Good point made by Titus on The Daily Hoosier, Archie is trying to play like Virginia, and its NOT working doesn’t have the players to play Virginia style basketball. Archie needs to make HUGE changes in his coaching style on both sides of the game during the offseason, and hope like Hell that I U gives him one more season to make the necessary changes in his coaching style.

    1. Yes, I read that analysis from Titus also and thought it was right on target. But its too late for Archie to change his program and the style of play he has been coaching. At best he’s a lame duck with another year at IU. After that, he’ll get some time, either being unemployed or as an assistant, to figure out how to change.

  17. An overhaul of a system and starting over might work for Archie in the long run, but it won’t work for him at IU. He doesn’t have time to do this. He only has, at best, until next Oct. There is a roster full of kids who have been taught to play in a particular system. They’ve committed to that system. It isn’t working, so any drastic overhauls would be hard to gain the trust of these players if Archie has already lead them to failure. It would take a new coach for them to buy in to a new way of playing.

    I don’t see the small tweaks that are needed to get the program over the hump. Indiana Basketball is in the worst position it’s been in the 20 years since Knight’s firing. I feel like how Sampson, Dakitch and Crean’s first days on the program was largely self inflicted (off season topic). There was nothing wrong with hiring Archie Miller. He seemed like the right guy. He just didn’t fit and it is hard to see exactly why. But the results are in after 4 years.

    UNC fired Matt Doherty, UK fired Billy Gillispie when it was clear that they weren’t the right coaches for the job. 4 years is plently long to know what you have.

    I wish AM success wherever he lands. I like the guy. But Indiana isn’t working out. We all need to move on.

    Question is: how?

  18. Knowing his ability to dramatically change the direction of the program is extremely limited, and what he experienced at the end of this year is a small preview of next year.

    To me he is thinking if I stay another year I lose over $7m in buyout and put myself and family through a difficult time. I believe he sits down with Dolson and agrees to a say, $5m buyout and moves on.

    1. Cali, his buyout is not any kind of a lump sum payout. He’s not walking away with a check for $10.3 million, or $7 million or even $5 million. If fired now, Archie continues to get what he’s been getting paid on a monthly basis, less any income he earns from outside sources (a TV gig, consulting, speaking engagements, etc.), or until he finds full time employment again. In addition, he is required to earnestly seek full-time employment from the moment he is terminated. So even though it’s not a lump sum payout, it’s still very expensive for IU to pay him his severance and hire a new coach.

      1. Po, I understand the terms. But monthly payments for over $10m are far more than monthly payments for $3.5m. Yes he has to try to find employment but not required to accept any job for any amount at any time.
        And IU owes the difference.

        1. Cali, yes exactly, and that’s why Archie’s going to be given a fifth season. But if he was to be fired 4/01/21, he’d get what he’s been getting every month for the next 36 months, less any income he gets paid from any other source. Under no circumstances would he be paid $10.3 over a shorter period of time. And given his age, Archie would probably get hired by another school within a year, a la Georgia hiring Tom Crean a year after IU fired him. But if Archie does get fired by IU, even if he got hired by another school a year from now, he’s not likely to get paid anywhere near what IU is paying him. IU’s best financial option is to give Archie a fifth season, hope he produces a season that is something more than a disaster, and then fire him 4/01/22, when his buyout is much lower and he’s more likely to get hired by another school.

  19. I am sure Archie Miller like almost all coaches take a job and want to be successful. Though A.M. has to heal his ego and to a lesser amount his staff (IU coaching assistant staff is not any good), A. M. has been financially BLESSED and once he gets away from this situation, (he will have new opportunities still making very good money) he and his family will realize and live the financial wealth gained at IU coaching opportunity. I think A.M. knows this and began entertaining this thought process sometime ago probably before this season. This season has accelerated that process. I think a lot of coaches and others outside coaching in similar failure/success situations go thru similar thought processes. A. M. assistant coaches will have some lesser opportunities as well.
    As for IU men’s basketball it’s with or without A. M. It’s a RESET whether NOW or a YEAR FROM NOW having a strong COACHING LEADER to change CULTURE of whole program.

  20. After reading many articles about IU basketball today, I am more convinced than ever that Miller Time is up. Frankly, if we are being honest, he has underperformed to an embarrassing level, and it needs to end. No one knows what the future holds, or if the new coach will have much better success,, but the current situation is untenable. A different direction is absolutely necessary. The players know it, the fans know it, and I believe Miller knows it.

    1. Thoughtful post.

      For me, this has been the most joyless season of IUBB that I’ve ever experienced. There were some moments of fun and enjoyment (it is a freaking game after all!), but every positive was tempered with a “lets see what happens next,” and every time what happened next was more terrible basketball. It just felt like the team was always in a hole and when the got out of it, they managed to quickly jump right back into it.

  21. Well, it appears we’re still a basketball school. Nothing says basketball school like more witch hunts and bonfires.
    To see such an enraged fan base finally coming out from under the McCracken dry rot over our decline in March relevance ( such relevance witnessing its lowest of lows amongst our Midwestern peers before Archie ever stepped foot in Bloomington) ….is, sadly, coming about 14 years too late. Burn, Bloomington! BURN!

    Just a shame we don’t have any thugs to blame this time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en1uwIzI3SE

  22. Covid hitting the conference tourneys hard. Kansas, out. Virginia, out. Duke, out. All due to positive tests in the program. Sure makes starting next week interesting. I live in Indy and now I know for sure will not be going downtown for any of that.

    My son was heading down to B-Town to watch IU baseball and called right before first pitch to tell me games got cancelled due to Mercer testing positive.

    This virus is a bitch.

    1. Don’t be shocked if the tournament is scrapped. It’s all about the money…Soon as you take the headliners out, then there’s really no reason to televise it.

      With so many programs bowing out, does this mean we’re back on board for a potential bid..? .Lol.

      Will Kansas and Virginia be available for the NCAA tournament…or will they pull out? I thought seven days was required before resuming competition?

  23. I think young people, upon digesting the news that confirms they are not at serious risk of death or at risk of becoming seriously sick, are letting their guard down and returning to normal behavior, which increases the risk. Grandpa and Grandma have received their vaccines and young people know they won’t die from this virus, so they have concluded that its time to get back to living their lives. Both my daughters (in early 30’s) have had COVID and both concluded that it was not nearly as bad as the last time they had the flu. They basically slept for four days! They stayed secluded from others so as not to spread it, but they were never worried about getting really sick.

  24. AWinAZ- Creighton …Very dangerous team. Dynamic point guard. Zegarowski is one hell of a baller.
    Nice size on the interior. Whole team plays with great urgency and pace. Quick active hands and bigs who can handle the ball. Kid from East Chicago (IN), Jefferson, plays with moxie.
    Sleeper Final Four team.

    Biggest problem for the Hoosiers is lack of a dynamic point guard. Has been the problem for a very long time. It’s rather disheartening to see so many strong and exciting teams while Indiana settles deeper and deeper into irrelevance (having little to do with Archie Miller’s short tenure).

    I’m seriously frightened by the idea that Bloomington, Indiana may just never be a premier basketball destination again. I’m seriously bummed by the long absence of candy stripes taking to the biggest stages of college basketball. It’s beyond sacrilegious. How can so many programs looks so good (along with finding Indiana guys I’ve never read a single recruiting piece about on HT or other “popular” Indy/Bloomington papers/websites/blog forums) while we look so, so lost?

    How did so many people make so much money over the last 13 years of leadership at Assembly Hall only to leave a program in such disarray and lost of pride/direction?

    How embarrassing is it to have all those March Madness promotional banners draped all over our ‘Hall’ and our facilities while we agonizingly die a slow death of irrelevance?

    Hoosier Rising….? My God was that the worst joke in history.

    1. Speaking of, kinda. The obituary Sunday for a Mr. David Cranfill mentioned he launched a Indiana “Legend” —- Martha the Cleaning Lady.

  25. Dolson needs to deal with this asap. Whatever direction he’s going in, he has to make a call soon.

  26. Rob needs to be shown the door as well. He will never fill the leadership role of Durham and he isn’t the point guard we thought he was going to be..at least treat him like a walk on and allow him to finish his education. AWin, I said sometime back that the worst thing that happened to college ball was the high school “Star ranking System”. When Indiana had classless basketball there were many small and medium sized schools that had GOOD players that were evaluated for college ball —not so today. If they dont get invited to play the AAU Circuit or make McDonald’s All – American..they arent good enough. I suggest the next coach send someone out on weekends to survey and evaluate some of the small school talent. They may play a 6’4″ center that might ACTUALLY translate into a guard. He should know how to rebound and shoot free throws. He might actually shoot 18 foot shot, and have other skills that could benefit a TEAM.

  27. First time in BigTen Tournament history to have four of the nation’s top-10 teams playing in the two semi-final games.

    Nah..The Big10 conference wasn’t brutal this year.

    Can’t pick my Final Four until I see the brackets tomorrow), but here’s who I like (along with some “guilty pleasures” of teams I really like to watch). Gonzaga may threaten our ’76 Hoosiers undefeated season….but I’m going with a little less “favorite” favorite.

    Champ: The Fighting Illini
    Guilty Pleasures: Creighton (Damien Jefferson of East Chicago, IN) , Loyola of Chicago (Porter Moser – learned under the great Rick Majerus), Houston (Kelvin Sampson), Texas Tech (McClung!…High school legend of W. Virginia).

  28. It’s not that IU doesn’t try to get the best recruits in the country and that includes the best big men and guards and wings. THE TRUTH IS UNDER IU MENS BASKETBALL SYSTEM SINCE KNIGHT and ZELLER…The very best just aren’t interested I coming to IU. (Latest Langford kinda strings attached as a step and focus on NBA as T. C. whole basketball program became that with minimal college focus…Then, Lander who this past year was a senior in high school age player trying to play in big ten…how many players can be successful at that (can’t even support that especially not Lander)).

  29. Expectations are different but T. Moren has a good thing going on IU Ladies side and it remains to be seen if her recruiting efforts can improve to get some of the top very best recruits straight out of high school. It’s been very challenging for her….even recruiting against in recent years unsuccessful Purdue program.

  30. TJ, I know your comment is well intentioned, but I don’t like the idea of any players being “shown the door.” Know that my disagreement with you isn’t personal. 😉

    The part of Tom Crean’s program that I hated the most was how he treated players that he recruited and signed to play for him. I think it shows a lack of character in a coach to commit to bringing a player in and then tossing them out when something better comes along, or that he doesn’t live up to his potential. You’re absolutely correct that Rob hasn’t met expectations, but there’s nothing about him that strikes me as lazy. He plays really hard. He has many faults, but trying isn’t one of them.

    Rob should probably find his way down the depth chart until he improves. But Rob committed to Indiana and he shouldn’t be tossed aside. Sometimes a coach will miss on a player. And he has to own those misses.

    1. DD, what did you mean when you wrote, “was how he (Crean) treated players that he recruited and signed to play for him”? Are you talking about the players who transferred? I don’t recall Crean bad-mouthing his players in public to any significant degree. He probably used the media to criticize his players’ performance on a regular basis, but Bob Knight was the all-time master of that motivational tactic. No coach in the history of college sports ever used the media to criticize/motivate his players (by name) more than Bob Knight! And we all know, by today’s standards, how “abusive” Bob Knight was to his players. Many talented Knight-recruited players transferred from IU, and that was back in the day when transferring was a much more difficult thing to do.

      Throughout his tenure at IU, Crean took risks recruiting certain players. IMO, he took too many recruiting risks, signing players that never really had the chance to be effective IU BB players. He was in the habit of recruiting guys who had the raw physical/athletic attributes, but whose BB skills or mental abilities were not ready for big time college BB. Crean may have believed he and his staff could develop those athletes into effective BB players. D. Wade, VO and several other players were examples of unheralded HS players who Crean signed and “developed” into great players.

      But the hardest part of assessing a young person’s potential is assessing their state-of-mind, their character, their mental toughness, their work ethic and their ambition. Crean gave opportunities to many such unheralded players and some of them just didn’t work out. I believe Crean’s big problem toward the end of his time at IU was hubris. His success with D Wade, VO and others lead him to take more recruiting risks. And then, when it became obvious that certain players were not developing as Crean needed them to be, he’d cut them lose (i.e., encourage them to transfer). But that coaching tactic is applied in High Schools and colleges every day across this country, involving both men’s and women’s athletics, regardless of the sport. And whose to say that a kid who signed with IU would not be better off at another school, or a young man sitting on IU’s bench would not be happier playing at a less prominent/less competitive school? In many cases, a coach is doing the right thing by the player if he “helps” him/her transfer to another school.

      1. He cut loose a kid who nearly had his brains spattered on 17th Street. It went way beyond scholly crunching …He was cold and ruthless. He was protected by his holier-than-thou armor wrapped around his twitter scripture and love quotes with Joyce Meyer. He was void of character…If you do the homework, it’s followed him to every destination. He’s lacking in emotional depth…..Severely lacking.

  31. Could be a lot of reasons the “best” aren’t interested, t.

    ■ Academics (includes admittance standards and how much a program enforces/encourages class attendance and an honest pursuit at education)
    ■ Perks: Dealings with agents taking care of family members, shoe deals, cash offerings. Does Indiana partake in any of things that were left unsettled (swept under the rug if you will) in the 2-year FBI investigation?
    ■ Cultural/Political/Ideologies….Let’s face it. Indiana and Indiana U. has become a progressively more conservative place since the early ’70s with leaders who believe it’s extremely important to position itself as “good Christians.” And even when someone may feel at home with such narrowly defined conservative principles and faith ideologies, they still may prefer a more diverse overall college atmosphere/experience.
    ■ Coach. Credentials…Can the coach offer something unique outside the cultural/geographic appeal of the school to lure a broader base of kids from different backgrounds/belief systems?
    ■ Trajectory. Obvious. Does the recruit feel confident that the program is truly interested in building a winner…or do they see the program simply more interested in window dressing (e.g. mantras, reunions, self-adulation “It’s Indiana”, fixation more on past greatness, ‘Halls of Champions’) than recent relevance? Is the program forward thinking…or do the leaders simply cling to history and anoint themselves because they follow in its distant shadow?

    1. Don’t forget the student bill of rights under the IU constitution? I haven’t heard much about the bill of rights lately another glass gimmick.

      1. Good point. Another gimmick indeed. And really never enforced under “Scholly Scissorhands” Crean. I believe it was used more as an advantage to “crunch” or cut a kid from a roster (after minor digressions or injury) than to ever protect a kid or give a kid more advantages of inherent in the guarantees of a scholarship. Legal protection for the school disguised as “rights” where character of the coach is in question.

        But with the ease of transferring now available, it makes such mirages of an athlete’s bill of rights/protection a rather moot point. The playing field is now more level …because the power relationship between player and coach is very dynamic and not time-delayed. The amateur athlete can now quickly “crunch” the coach…and leave a program high and dry.

        Is any of it for the betterment of college athletics…? Coaches more and more fearful of ruffling feathers a prized recruit …or bench a kid because he’s not playing unselfishly or with his teammates contributions in mind. Everyone trigger-happy to leave when the going gets tough….and coaches/fan bases increasingly more impatient to slowly develop talent (must find ways to quickly cut kids because we have such a “get rich quick”/ “get successful quick” mentality in today’s instant gratification world.

  32. Now that we are starting our post-mortem for the season, I’d like to make a further comment about Rob Phinisee. I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but I don’t think most people really understand how deeply a bad concussion can mess you up. I’ve spent the last 15 years diving into neurobiology and neurochemistry because of my own history with concussions. In short, the TBI (traumatic brain injuries) are far more damaging than we’ve ever realized. And it isn’t just the football players with head injuries. It doesn’t take much to alter your brain chemistry after a TBI.

    Rob was out a long time after that terrible concussion. If I remember correctly, he was trying to drive and as he charged to the basket, he took on a defenders swinging knee right to his head. We all have different abilities and issues with healing after a TBI (and it is VERY complicated), but many people have motor dysfunction. Very few people are getting the correct treatments after a TBI now, and I don’t think that Rob going from a 44% 3-pt shooter (before his injury) to 26-33% after is indicative of just lack of confidence.

    Previous to the injury, Rob was an attacking and decisive point guard. The kind that would absolutely thrive in the offense AM brought to Indiana. Now he’s a few steps slow and is prone to “mental errors.” In the Rutgers game, the pivotal play was in the 2nd half and Rutgers was on a run. Indiana needed a basket to keep the game from running away, so AM called time-out with the ball. Rob walked the ball up the floor and basically threw it to the defender before the set even started.

    You guys might see it much differently than I do. As someone who had to deal with the aftermath of 2 major concussions, it took a decade for me to recover (especially as the science improved). I’m seeing something that looks like the aftermath of TBI, although I can’t be quite sure because it involves a lot of testing and that would be very private to Rob.

    I don’t really know what the deal is. But I think there’s enough evidence in his play that shows he doesn’t really look right. I think people are projecting when they immediately blame Archie Miller for his poor play.

    Also, I know what some of you might be getting ready to say, “Other players get concussions and they come back.” Yes, some do. The brain is very complicated. Some don’t. We don’t really know why yet. But Rob might very well be one of them. He can get better, but he would need to go to a neurospecialist who can look into it with him. I’ll be you a million dollars that Indiana doesn’t have anyone like that on staff. Because of this emerging field, there just aren’t that many credible neuro-specialists out there. The science is getting really really good, but the application to medicine is still lagging. Like it always does.

    1. DD especially appreciate your informative post. I’m hold very shallow knowledge on TBI. Your words did enlighten me more. But I speak more generally about the injuries IUBB has endured near unendingly for 3 seasons. Hunter and Joey losing whole seasons. Some lingering like Deron Davis and RP or multiplying so as to miss many games. That retards player development. Really credit Coach Miller being to be able to establish strong D also reducing turnovers and the offense creating open shots since season 1. As I posted a few days ago I give Miller a mulligan for the 1st season. All the injuries in year 2 earns a 2nd mulligan. My belief is he is starting season 3 in ’21-22′. With 4 quality Frosh, a good ’21’ big man and a SG transfer recruiting has 6 new pieces of talent over 2 year span. With openings available no doubt more can be had. With all the Seniors who will elect to play another year because of Coroni the label “lame duck coach” won’t hold near the negative it would normally. Advantage IUBB.

      1. Thanks for reading this, guys.

        Speaking of brain/neurology work, one of areas of research that is emerging is about neuroplasticity. Simply, it is the ability of the brain to gain new neuroconnections and its ability to change given specific stimulus. Entire neural networks can be remapped and changed.

        And it isn’t just new connections, even areas of the brain that were once thought to be static can grow or shrink given specific set of stimulus or TBI. This is called neurogensis.

        If I ran a college basketball program, one of my assistants would be one of these specialists. This would help with injury recovery at the very least. And the other end, it would be an intentional path of human development for these kids in a way that would turn out basketball players like the IU Music School turns out musicians. Maybe even better.

        If you’re interested in some great content, there’s a guy, Andrew Huberman, who is a professor of neurobiology at Stanford. He has a great podcast that’s meant for regular folks on the brain. The guy is pretty amazing. Worth checking out.

        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2D2CMWXMOVWx7giW1n3LIg

    2. In my mind, your statement regarding concussions is way above 99.9% of the comments on this blog, including all of mine.
      I have said to anybody who will listen that Rob’s play of late has a LOT to do with his concussion.
      Thanks for your amazing observations.

      1. My abovecomment was related to Double Down’s post, although I also agree with Hoosier Clarion’s post.

  33. Agree, DD. Chemistry of the brain is beyond complex. Far from my expertise (sounds like you have much more…based on personal studies/experience). I often wonder how much such an injury could even affect chances to become clinically depressed…or have nearly bipolar emotional swings/events).

    We have a habit of dismissing the battles with emotional injuries (which can have many sources including chemical imbalances, environmental/family factors and traumatic head injuries) …and the many things we can’t see.

    And I highly suspect the emotional strains that comes with the constraints due to the pandemic have varying degrees of impact on the emotions. Add such influences to someone already fighting through past trauma?

    College athletics seems to reflect more and more the splits in our general society…The Rch vs. The Poor. The Limelight vs. The Dismissed. The fixation on CEO Celebrity vs. The forgotten Factory Floor.

  34. Contrast how Archie Miller has stuck with Phinisee through his concussion setbacks to how Devin Davis was treated. I can’t even imagine what Davis had to be going through after an injury that nearly took his life…(physical, emotional, fears, etc). I’d probably be doing much more than sneaking a joint in my dorm room to escape and ease the pain of all my dreams going up in smoke. He was treated with such a cold shoulder …It was beyond disgraceful.

  35. If there is any evidence that R.P. is having concussion issues then should he be playing at all???
    Watching Michigan vs Ohio State… the flow of team physicality, speed size, along with talent and this includes other top teams around the country… IU has a long ways to go to match up.
    There is a rumor Indiana State player who has entered transfer portal Jake LaRavia talking to IU. If true mo valley (good player) trying to make any kind of difference in a big ten league for a struggling program???

  36. IU Basketball is in a sh**storm….pure and simple. Relevance fading. Talent fading. Pedigree gone.

    Archie came in deceived as if a rebuild was needed. But it was not a time for a rebuild. Whatever slim chance we had of rebuild was squandered on nine years a charlatan.
    We are in a day requiring a basketball renaissance. Additionally, so much emphasis and focus on the long shot football experiment (millions of dollars and oodles of attention spent on the hopes of a 70 yard field goal for a blip on the radar of relevance) makes for a potentially irreparable distraction to make right on our once most cherished niche in the college sports landscape.

    In need of a basketball renaissance we’re fumbling around for a decade with pigskin and prayers.

  37. RP is not a great PG and he never will be. But there is a lot more wrong with this IU roster than RP’s performance at point guard. How many times did RP deliver the ball to one of his bigs deep in the paint only to watch that big fail to convert? How many times did IU’s bigs miss bunnies at the rim this season? How many games did IU lose this season because of missed FTs?

    There’s a lot wrong with the current version of IU basketball. The problems are systemic. And that tells me that it’s a coaching problem. Archie’s coaching is the problem! Archie’s recruiting, or failure to recruit is a problem. Archie’s inability to improve the key skills of his players is a problem. So let’s not single out or scapegoat any of the players. The “adults” in the room, the men who get paid a lot of money to produce winning teams, are the problem. It’s that simple. Whether they’re capable of improving their performance is an open question. I think we’d all like to believe it’s possible, but I believe deep down that Archie is missing something fundamental and is therefor unable to fix it. He’ll likely get another year with IU, but I don’t think anything significant is going to change. And if everything goes well and the stars align next season, IU might win 17 or 18 games. And IMO, that’s not close to being good enough for IU BB or for an IU coach in his fifth year on the job.

    1. The offense is consistently creating open shots. That also is systematic. The problem is scoring and that happens from successful shooting or doesn’t happen from unsuccessful shots. Bunnies underneath, FT’s, 16 footers or the money ball 3 are the only things needed to improve scoring. Franklin and Hunter are fast developing. Shooting gets better with more talent and with the 4 already here and 2 more coming scoring gets more promising.

      1. Agree HC! Guys who can shoot the 3, barring transfers, that we’ll have next yr in order of my own estimated 3 Pt % capability;
        Franklin
        Stewart
        Leal
        Hunter
        Lander
        Geronimo

  38. I do like Archie …and also believe he inherited way more than a program in simple need of tweaks and rebuild. He inherited a flattened giant hype balloon lost all its gas/energy. Very little to rally a fan base…Nothing to truly resurrect. Just a program lost identity and direction….and void of a truly knowledgeable AD who understands more than balloons, reunion parties, reliving the kegger days and facilities expansion.
    IU Basketball is need of a renaissance man….Archie is a fine coach at 90% of the programs in need of a shot-in-the-arm rebuild. But that’s not Indiana. Just not sure if it’s in his repertoire of skills to be almost bigger than life and restore such a lost identity. If the fan base could be patient enough for a 10-year grind without the sort of hoopla that came with the Fred & Tom carnival?

    I don’t like the idea of cutting his chance short….but I simply believe a top to bottom, bottom to top, total overhaul is the pathway. Then again, it probably won’t matter because the systemic issues likely go much deeper than the head coaching level. Nepotism runs deep at IU. Our only pathway out is to gut the fish….and start all over. Did we gut the fish by bringing in Dolson? How about the president of IU? Does he care one iota about IU Basketball…or football? Can Archie be held responsible for the complete cultural shift change required. He’s simply the next fall guy made rich….And there will be more.

  39. Brad Stevens would be a basketball renaissance….Anyone else will be just more of the same. More reset. More grind. Losing on more top recruits than the few landed. Guys prematurely jumping to the NBA because the opportunities there seem far more inviting than the small chances of deep March Madness runs while surrounded by ever-changing disjointed rosters (e.g. more Romeo hits and misses).

    Without true renaissance …there’s really no point in firing Archie. Accept the fact we’re now a mid-major basketball program stuck in a very powerful conference. Tweaks like hiring Dane Fife won’t change a thing. It’s like installing a new urinal in giant stadium restroom. Shiny and polished at first …but soon just another poorly attended place to drain the waste.

    1. Paywall…That’s a nope.
      Osterman, Dopirak, Korman…are all part of an Establishment clique. Not sure if Blau is now a new member as well.
      They’re all plenty capable at their jobs, but I often feel they get some sort of snidely joy when it comes to Indiana irrelevance. I would suggest reading some of their interplay with each other on Twitter accounts where they often mock the Indiana fight song, etc.

      Bottom Line: Much like Dakich, they thrive more on kicking Indiana than lifting her up. They get more interest/readers in their stories and more “likes” on their sites when Indiana University basketball is the brunt of the jokes. I’m not doing a paywall to support such agendas.
      Just my opinion….Penn State and Georgia grads writing about Hoosier hoops? That’s about as bad as Tom Crean coaching it.

      1. The article wasn’t anti-IU, it was what I consider an honest assessment. Much of the same points you make on here. My main takeaway was just how painfully irrelevant he finds his job because of the subject matter he is assigned to cover.

  40. I know, I know, I said I was done until next season…..many of the new posts inspired me (ref. DD, HC, H4H, Podunk)

  41. Sorry for being so grumpy….March Madness without the Hoosiers again at the root of my hostility. Those were all just ‘air punches’ with no intention of landing. Korman and Dopirak were always kind enough to give me the time of day when they used to be part of HT. Zach Osterman is a good guy, too.
    Most know I toss around the ‘Establishment’ stuff as a bit of grabbing at conspiracy straws…What else can a Hoosier do? Absent from relevance for so long, somebody must be working against us. I think I’m just nearing resignation …of it all. March Madness just feels like another marker for being a year older.

    Sorry I can’t read the story., AZ…but I have enough bills.

  42. Dorkitch is irrelevant to IU anything. Just makes noise like a yapping indoor dog.

  43. This is hard to swallow. No easy way to digest this truth.

    Final KenPom rankings last five seasons:

    Penn State:

    • 2017: 87
    • 2018: 19
    • 2019: 43
    • 2020: 26
    • 2021: 35

    Indiana:

    • 2017: 44
    • 2018: 71
    • 2019: 52
    • 2020: 34
    • 2021: 46

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