INDIANA UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 9, 2017
THE MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about Indiana State, and then we will take questions.
ARCHIE MILLER: Obviously college basketball's kickoff is finally here. Things feel a little bit different. There's pressure around the preparation, there's pressure around the execution in practice. Right now just getting our guys mentally ready to play what I think is a very, very good team here early in the season. Obviously an in-state team. I think we're going to deal with a group that's very, very hungry to beat us. Trying to get our players ready mentally to compete in what I think will be a 40-minute game. It's getting their heads right, how we're going to have to play, you know, to be successful. That's the whole thing.
We've had a good week. It's been a physical week. We're kind of looking forward to backing it off here a little bit because once the games start, they're going to be coming fast and furious.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. As a coach, do you ever really think your team is ready, or you always wish you had another week?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I'm probably that type of a guy, wish we had more time. Even when you have a veteran team coming back like we did a year ago at Dayton, you never feel most comfortable going into that first one thinking, I wish we had a little more time, wish we were better at this, should we have done more of this.
That's what every coach is probably doing right now. They're hoping that their guys are prepared to play their best here early in the season and do the things that they've practiced consistently every day.
You add in an opponent, some scouting to some things, hopefully you're able to be prepared. But absolutely, I think I speak for a lot of coaches that you wish you had a little bit more time.
Q. From a game conditioning standpoint, is it good to have a Friday-Sunday situation to start off to get guys in back-to-back game situations?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think that's how it's designed. This is going to be a non-conference schedule. It's going to go really fast. Typically what you like is to have a game, have a few days in between, then another game with a few days in between so you can recover and also get better, find ways to continue to improve with your practice habits. Very difficult with two games in three days to, you know, practice.
But I think playing two different opponents on the fly will give us a lot of information. It's going to give us a lot of film study, the ability to show them more things specifically in game action, then we'll go from there.
But two games in three days isn't bad. Sometimes you're in a tournament setting early in the season where you play three in three days. That's where you have to really focus on yourself, be good at what you do, improve from the first game into the second one on some things you weren't good at.
It's good to get play in.
Q. Al and Collin going to be on minute restrictions?
ARCHIE MILLER: They're full go in practice right now. I think all minute restrictions are off for those guys right now unless something pending would happen. Those guys have been in practice all week long. I think both guys are heading towards readiness to play.
Q. Other than that, everyone else 100%?
ARCHIE MILLER: I don't think anybody's ever 100%. We're like everybody. We've got our nicks, bruises, our ankles and stuff. That's why I think today is an important day for us to take a step back and take the physicality, so to speak, down a level as we get ready to play two games in 72 hours.
Q. What do you do about Indiana State?
ARCHIE MILLER: Indiana State to me has two really, really challenging guards. I think each of them on a given night, regardless of who they play against, can get you in a lot of different ways. One, Scott and Barnes are great shooters. They're great off the dribble in transition. They're very, very aggressive. If you look at sort of their film, some of the things they've done here in their exhibitions and whatnot, clearly those two guys can really get going. That's an important piece to being able to stop them, is slowing them down a little bit.
I think they have great size at the center spot. I think they're going to get great production. A slew of new guys mixing in probably like a lot of guys.
I like their team. They got great freedom to play aggressively. I think our biggest challenge in being able to compete with them, being able to play, is going to be our offense. Are we going to be organized on offense. Are we going to be able to run our stuff. Are we going to be sloppy with our execution and turnovers, not run efficient offense. That's one concern.
I think they play hard. Like I said, I think they're going to be a good team. For us to play here early in the year, this isn't anything that me or our staff isn't trying to look at this as the biggest game on the schedule, because it is.
Q. How much of a help, because they played Illinois, Purdue already, does that prepare them for this environment?
ARCHIE MILLER: We'll be their third Big Ten opponent when you think about it. They've been at Illinois, at Purdue, they'll be at Indiana. I think that has to resonate with our players. They're not coming in afraid of us. They're not coming in here ooing and awing. They're prepared to come into Bloomington. They're prepared to come in here and play, compete to win, just like they did in all their other games.
I think our players' antenna has to be up. There's a responsibility to be ready to go on Friday. I think the team that's the most ready, the team that's the most hungry is usually going to give themselves a chance to be most successful. Without question, I think they're prepared.
Q. Playing two Big Ten teams, younger players learning a new system, is there any particular matchup that you're concerned about with them?
ARCHIE MILLER: Not particular matchups. I think just are we going to be good enough at doing what we have to do defensively as a team against our best opponent so far this season.
I think our guys understand that their guard play is extremely important. I think we're going to have to have a team approach to that. I think their post play will be the best that we've seen. I think our front court guys right now understand that. There's not going to be very many possessions that you're going to have the ability to not be playing as hard as you possibly can.
There's going to be mistakes. I mean, I think there's going to be errors out there. I think the biggest thing is to be able to stay with it through 40 minutes and play as hard as we possibly can.
I think it's going to be a test for our front court guys to stay out of foul trouble. It's going to be a test for our guards to be blocking out all game long. To me, this is a game where it's a nuts and bolts kind of game. You're going to have to do the little things well to have a chance to win. This isn't going to be the lake show or something out there that we're going to run up and down the floor, hoist them. This is going to be a hard-fought game.
Q. Beyond the fact you want to win, a couple key elements you want to see after this game in terms of what you're looking for in team development?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think from a defensive standpoint is the ability to see a hard-playing team that's more connected, that's not giving up just straight line dribbles to the rim. There's got to be a team approach defensively that I don't think we had in last Sunday's exhibition. I think we were disorganized. We were a lot more stand around.
I'm looking defensively obviously for a tighter, more connected group, that's willing to defend in late clock situations where you don't break down. Offensively shot selection is a big thing going into this game. Having the ability to get a great look down. Having the ability to work in the paint, inside-out, find a way to get to the foul line, where we're not just hoisting jump shots. That's something we've harped on. Obviously we have to play the game the right way.
I think we're trying. This is going to be the first real test. There's no more lack of possessions that aren't quality. I think definitely the effort level on defense, the toughness, the connectedness, a group of however many guys get in the game that understand they got to do their job.
Offensively, really start the game by running good offense, establishing that we can work inside-out. I think that's a big thing for us. Don't shoot quick. In some cases those are just like turnovers.
We'll see. I want our guys to be aggressive. I think we'll be ready to go.
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