INDIANA UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 14, 2017
ARCHIE MILLER: Obviously coming off of last week, a really a tough week. A lot of work went into it. Played two games in three days to finish. Now preparing to go on the road and play an excellent Seton Hall team. Early in the season, our guys have really had to take on a lot.
Learning from our mistakes, watching a lot of film, then also trying to stay as fresh as we possibly can with these games sort of stacked up the way that they are. As a coaching staff, it's really put some concern on us, how much we can really even practice right now. It's tough to absorb all the work we want to put in and at the same time keep a mindful approach that these games are coming fast and furious.
It's put us in a situation to take a little time back, watch some film with the guys, try to keep them as fresh as possible, also try to get better here early in the season when it's tough to practice.
It's been challenging. I think it's going to give us a good indication of how we're going to have to do things throughout the course of this season how our schedule lays out.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Obviously the 30 threes that your opponents had those first two games, as you went through the film, was there any common theme?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think one of the things we spent a lot of time talking about yesterday as a team is the communication factor. Of the 30 made threes that went in in the first two games, I would say that about 12 or 15, maybe 12 or 15 of the actual shots that went in, didn't even have to be taken. Whether that's communicating on switching, whether that's doing your job in proper technique and ball screen coverage, whether you're getting back fast enough and running hard enough to get your defense set. To me there's probably 10, 12 of those shots that went in that are preventable from even going up if we're just doing our job. That was one.
I think the other thing is obviously getting beat off the dribble in penetration really hurts. Right now being able to guard the ball, keep things in front of us has been challenging. So penetration has broken us down. I also think we played some terrific shooters. Indiana State at one point being 17 of 22, I'm not sure you're going to be able to absorb a lot of the ones that went in. They were tough shots.
Against Howard, you played another team that really had some prolific shooters. They made 12 at George Washington, came in and made 13. I think five or six of those are tough shots. It's a combination of things.
But I think just doing our job, proper technique, communication, we can be better. I think that will help us.
Q. Juwan, do you expect him to play tomorrow?
ARCHIE MILLER: Not sure if Juwan will play tomorrow. Devonte got nicked up at the end of the game with a thigh bruise. We have those two guys sort of right now getting treatment and getting evaluated.
As we approached practice this afternoon, we probably won't have either available for practice. Hartman continues to be out. Injury-wise we're a little banged up. We're hopeful that both Devonte and Juwan by game time tomorrow will be ready to go, but we'll have to wait and see.
Q. Pending Juwan's availability, how important is having a guy like Justin continuing at a level of play like he had this past Sunday?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think he's going to get thrown into the fire. For him, that's awesome because he's going to get live reps. That's how you learn how to improve as a player. You have to get in there and play. When you're thrust into the fire, you're going to live with some mistakes. You're going to live with inexperience. In the long run, it will definitely help him.
Justin is going to have to be ready to go for us as we get ready to approach some of these games. We are a team that is going to need all bodies on hand because of the nature of the season, injuries. It's going to be tough.
I thought he did a nice job against Howard. We also spent a lot of time on watching film on how much better he can be, how much tougher he's going to have to be. Especially as we're getting ready to go to Seton Hall, this is going to be a game, so to speak, for the men. There's no boys sort of allowed when you're playing against Seton Hall. Justin is going to have an opportunity to step up and play against really good forwards and front court players on Wednesday.
Q. I know it's a small sample size, De'Ron talked about how it would help fouls, help him stay more aggressive. Do you feel like through two games, to be good at defense, good on the boards, really kind of stood out for you?
ARCHIE MILLER: He played 25 minutes against Howard. I think he did a nice job. I think, like I said before, sometimes it's game conditions. He needs to get used to playing in the games. Once he gets used to playing in the games, he'll be better.
But he gets tired quickly. I think from a staff perspective, we have to recognize how long he can go before he gets tired. When he does get tired, we have to get him out. That's important in terms of fouling. When you're fatigued, you're going to make mistakes. Getting him in and out, getting him proper rest is important.
But I do think he's going to be able to play longer stretches. As we play bigger and better teams, he's going to have to really be smart about how he approaches post defense and whatnot, doing his work early so he's not getting fouled because he's going to play against good front court players that are going to attack him, especially Wednesday, being in Delgado.
I think he's going to get used to it. We're hopeful that De'Ron can log big games for us in terms of minutes because you can see he's a presence down there. He has the ability to get baskets and the ability to get fouled, and I think that's important.
Q. With Delgado, a double-double machine. You're hurting in the front court. How do you view the matchup? Any concern?
ARCHIE MILLER: There's great concern. We're not the only team in the country that is concerned when you play against him. I mean, he does an amazing job, as good a rebounder as there is in the nation. He's averaged I think 13, 14 rebounds last year a game. He had a hundred plus offensive rebounds. If you look at a small sample size of what he has done early this season, probably five offensive rebounds a game. It's not as if he's not doing that to everybody. That's just what he does. He's a great player.
But it's an awareness thing going in. The attention to detail on weak side blockouts, our guards getting in there and helping out, keeping your body on him early, when the shot goes up staying attached. There's going to be a lot of little details. Make no mistake, he's doing that pretty much against everybody.
But rebounding was a big emphasis coming out of this weekend. We didn't do a good job on the glass. Blocking out is going to be one of the most important things happening on Wednesday night.
Q. Events like this, do you like this, Gavitt games, embrace this, look forward to this type of event?
ARCHIE MILLER: They're great opportunities for showcase games early in the season. I think that's always important for college basketball, is to get out there on national television and play against great opponents that are going to prepare you for your league play.
Being in the Gavitt games, this will be our second opportunity, next year we're in it for three. I think you're required to be in it four out of however many years the contract is. Also the Big Ten Challenge gives you the early-season marquee matchups that college basketball fans I think want to see, so it's good for the game.
Q. They've got some size at guard, too. It's not just a matter of their size inside. Double figure scorers at guard with some height, makes it even more challenging for the defense.
ARCHIE MILLER: This is high major team. Have you Desi Rodriguez playing on the wing at 6'6", 215, 220 pounds, he's an absolute bulldozer. We're not set up or built yet with that type of front court size. We're going to have to be scrappy, have all hands on deck. Carrington is physical guard. Powell, physical.
You're playing probably one of the toughest teams toughness-wise. This is a tough team. I think anybody will tell you over the last few years the job that Kevin has done has been amazing.
When you talk to people in the Big East, you talk to college coaches that are familiar with Seton Hall, the very first thing you're going to say is, You guys are going to have to be tough when you play them.
It's going to be a great challenge for us physically.
Q. I think you said after the Howard game that following Indiana State, you were kind of shellshocked a bit, maybe lacked confidence. Do you think the win against Howard helped boost the team's confidence?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's always good to get a win. I think playing together is important for this group right now. I think we're searching for an identity on both sides of the ball. Part of it is the identity that we're trying to create in having a group of people that haven't played a ton of minutes together. There's new personnel on the floor right now that wasn't on the floor a lot last year. We're going through some growing pains as much as anything.
I think we'll get better because we're going to get more experience playing together, we're going to get more games under or belt.
But definitely I think when you have an opening weekend like we've had, probably some confusion. Wow, why did that happen? Part of the reason it's happening is we're not a great team yet. I don't mean X's and O's or basketball, I'm talking about just team together, tough, identity.
The thing is, when you play really good teams, the first thing that stands out the is the collectiveness what they have. Right now, it's individuals searching for how this is going to work, first couple games, what is it going to look like. Until we get a group that's committed and really understands sort of how we're going to have to do it together, we're going to have some ups and downs.
I think this is a huge test for us going in on Wednesday night to play against a terrific team. They're experienced, veteran-led. This is going to be one of those come-together type of opportunities for us. We have to be stronger mentally, have to come together more, have to understand collectively how we're going to have to do it to be successful is a lot different than sort of how it's gone right now. I think then you'll start to see a little bit more consistent play.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports