Indiana’s Archie Miller not accepting of anything short of success
For those that have watched first-year Indiana men’s basketball coach Archie Miller this season, it is apparent that the act of smiling is going to be on a very limited basis.
Miller certainly wasn’t doing so after his team played poorly at both ends of the floor Saturday in a 69-55 loss at Michigan to open the Big Ten Conference portion of the Hoosiers’ season, and he wasn’t doing so after playing No. 1-ranked Duke very competitively earlier this week either.
It is clear that Miller is only going to be accepting of actual victories, not moral ones.
“That’s the thing,” Miller said in a press conference following Saturday’s loss, “it’s disappointing when you lose to Duke. We didn’t beat Duke. I have to keep coming back to that point – we lost the game to Duke.”
Indiana played the heralded Blue Devils closely until the final four minutes before faltering, and that late malaise continued into Saturday’s game.
As much as the Hoosier Nation felt good about the effort against Duke that is how poorly it had to have felt Saturday. In the case of the Indiana coach, he felt nauseous following each.
“If any of that ‘Hey I feel good stuff’ creeps into your locker room or your bus,” Miller explained, “you have to be a focused team and you have to be possessed with getting better. You really have to understand the reality of winning and losing.”
The message from Miller since day one of his time with the program has been one of patience, as his new players learn his offensive and defensive systems, as well as the on- and off-court expectations in every aspect of their existence. However, the Indiana fan base shouldn’t confuse having patience with acceptance when it comes to wins and losses.
“Playing to win is everything,” Miller said. “Performing and production; it is every day and every game. It is not feel good because we played pretty hard against Duke. We should have beat Duke, but we didn’t.”
Indiana (4-4, 0-1 Big Ten) also never threatened the Wolverines (7-2, 1-0) either.
The Hoosiers committed nine first half turnovers, which led the offensive transition opportunities for Michigan, which took full advantage of those.
The Wolverines sank six 3-pointers in the first half, as they built a 13-point halftime lead.
Essentially every negative aspect of play that Indiana had demonstrated in the early portion of this season, but had seemingly corrected as of late, things such as being smart with the ball, sharing it amongst each other and defending the perimeter, all of that regressed considerably Saturday.
“It starts with offense and being able to eliminate transition opportunities,” Miller said. “Then it comes back to half-court guarding the ball and not getting beat in one-on-one situations where you then have to commit help.”
“Michigan is the ultimate team that preys on that spacing and they did a good job. I think they made 11 3’s off 31 attempts in the game. And that’s probably a good reason why we only took seven. So give them credit for winning that battle.”
The Hoosiers won’t have long to dwell on their poor play, they will host Iowa Monday (8 p.m., BTN). Miller stressed the importance of learning from these defeats and moving forward mentally.
“The key is to really focus in on the next 48 hours, because we are going to play Iowa at home and that’s an important game for us,” Miller said. “That’s the most important thing we can do – learn, get better, work, be ready and have an unbelievable effort level for our Big Ten home game opportunity in December.”
“Unbelievable effort” will be nice, but as Miller noted, it’s all about actually winning.
JONES TO BOLT BLOOMINGTON
The Indiana perimeter depth got cut by one Sunday, as Miller announced that guard Curtis Jones was transferring out of the program at the end of this semester.
“We appreciate Curtis’s contributions and wish him nothing but the best in the future,” Miller said in a release.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore averaged 3.0 points in 11.4 minutes per game this season in seven contests off the bench.
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the IU basketball program,” Jnes said, “and look forward to finding a new situation where I can achieve the goals I have as a basketball player and as a student.”
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