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November 5, 2017

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 74, UIndy - 53

COACH MILLER: Good win for the team. Like I told them after the game, anytime you win you enjoy it because they're so hard to come by and we're getting ready to experience what that really feels like here as we get ready to get started into the opening season and into the opening game.

Because I think everything that we're going to be dealing with is going to be hard here early on. And we're going to have to really earn the right to win games. So I was proud of their effort. I thought some guys did some better things than they did last week.

I thought some guys didn't do some things we asked them to do. That's part of it. And we'll learn from it. We have a big week of improvement with a huge, huge home opener on Friday, and that's what we're focused in on right now.

Q. What are you looking for from the center position? You had two guys who came close to double-double. But specifically what are you looking for?
COACH MILLER: We want to put pressure on the rim. In transition we want to put pressure on the rim. We've got to find a way to get easy catches in there, because it's going to be hard just to run plays and do things. So I think the first opportunity is early offense to get inside. And we worked on that this week. We missed them.

Biggest emphasis tonight coming out of the game in my mind is our ability to feed the post and get the ball inside when guys are ready. It became apparent that it was going to become a jump-shooting contest in the first half rather than work the ball and get the ball inside/out which we've talked about quite a bit.

We're a quick-shooting team. And I don't like that. I think if you shoot the ball quick, it's got to be a great look, a wide-open look to a guy that you trust that can make it. But I'm not sure three or four 3s in a row without ever getting the ball inside or turned a few times to make the defense work is a good thing. And that was frustrating tonight. I thought we would have been better in half-court movement, and we weren't.

I think the second half we were better. Obviously I think De'Ron and Freddie did a tremendous job impacting the game on the glass, couple of tip-ins early and they got the ball deep a few times.

Freddie really energized the game with his ability to offensive rebound. So the physicality in and around the basket is what we're hunting for, and that type of consistency from those two guys will be something that will be obviously, we really would need.

Q. How much of a difference have you seen in Freddie since you arrived to now?
COACH MILLER: Freddie wants to do well. Freddie wants to please the coaches. He's a guy that if you ask him to do something, he's going to try like heck to do it.

I think he's a guy that's learning a new role, sort of what we're asking him to do compared to what he was asked to do before. I think he understands his role better. You could see in this game he was pretty active on both ends of the floor. He's small and undersized at times in the post, but I think he's working hard on that.

And he gets up and goes and gets balls. There's a value of six offensive rebounds in the game. There's a value to whatever he played -- I guess 13 minutes, nine rebounds. There's a value to that.

He's a physical guy who can help us hopefully contain on the glass and play hard on defense, and he'll take his spots on offense. I was pleased with Freddie tonight. I think he had a big momentum twist when he was in the second half. I think that helped us.

Q. Is there an appreciation of what Collin brings, (indiscernible] momentum given he hasn't been playing the last couple of weeks?
COACH MILLER: It was good to have him out there. I think you can start to see a little bit how he can space the floor for us. He was on a minutes restriction or he probably would have played a little more tonight. But able to make three shots. That's one thing he gives us.

The other thing he gives us is confidence, because he's a guy that talks in huddles, engaged right now in the locker room. He's a guy that through good and bad is going to be the same. So definitely an added bonus to having an experienced guy out there.

Q. The turnovers tonight, were you pleased -- mentioned the first half, the quick shots --
COACH MILLER: I think the one thing is the turnover number, eight, is always -- anything under 10 is always what we're gunning for.

But if you add in six to eight bad shots in later-down-the-line games against good competition is going to turn into offense on the other side of the ball.

So we have to be a little bit more mindful in shot selection. I thought the turnovers in the first half were related to guards just keeping it too long, not hitting the first open man on the break.

When we did hit the first open man up the floor off a missed shot or made shot, good things happen. Don't try to make something harder than it is. When there's an open guy open, hit the first open guy. That's the best option you have.

I thought when we did that it was good. We were low turnovers tonight, maybe a little bit too many settled for 3s. What did we take in the first half, 14 of our 26 -- 14 of our 30 in the first half were 3s. And only took six 3s in the second half. I thought that was obviously big improvement in terms of shot selection.

Q. You mentioned the other day that who starts is not as important as who finishes, but you have used the same starting five in both the exhibition games. How important or unimportant is it to you to --
COACH MILLER: We'll look at it this week. We'll come out of this game, look at last week's practice statistics, we'll look at this game on the film and we'll see what direction. We have been hampered by not having Collin and Al available. So we're relegated to maybe a three guard lineup.

I would love to get a little bigger if I could, and I also think it would help us rebounding-wise if we could get a little bigger on the perimeter when Justin is ready or even Zach for a little bit.

But we're going to have to play it by ear here. I think as the game gets moving on, I'm more comfortable right now knowing who I want to put in and keep in and who I need to get out when I need to get out.

But Al was on a ten-minute restriction as well tonight. He was only going to play about ten minutes. So Al probably would have played another five to seven minutes if I could have got him out there as well. Rotation is going to be something that's going to be tinkered with and played with most of the season, I think, and my hope is that we have some guys emerge and feel like they keep competing and working towards getting on the floor more.

Q. I didn't notice much, if any, switching out there, defensively. Were you guys, by design, just making people stay the pace, fight through screens.
COACH MILLER: We're not a big switch team at all. Predominantly try to stay away from switching as much as possible unless it's obviously a special situation or a special cover, a certain guy that you don't want to get open on something. But for the most part I think we're just trying to play our base defense right now and let our players react off it.

Worst thing we're doing right now is just guarding the ball. We're spread out, which is tough to get to, once you can get tough and tough behind the defense. And the way we want to play, we don't ever want the ball just to go in a straight line to the front of the rim without having help or whatnot.

That was concerning a little bit. But not a lot of switching, I think we'll have the ability to switch at times if we need to, but predominantly just sticking with our base stuff right now.

Q. That wasn't a free-throw shooting contest, but of the 19 you took, only hit 53 percent. How important is it going to be as the competition gets tougher that that number rises?
COACH MILLER: Both -- the attempts have to go up and obviously the makes have to go up. We're a better free throw shooting team. Devonte missed, I think, three in a row on a 3-point shot. That kind of deflates the deal.

But at one point in time we're 2-for-7 in the first half. It kills you. If you're a good free throw shooting team and you're about getting fouled, that's part of winning basketball. And tonight, going I think 11-for-19, and De'Ron was 3-for-6, which is something he's got to concentrate on. Devonte is better than that. But hopefully we can come consistent free-throw shooting team. I know that we've had guys on this team have great percentages throughout their career.

Q. You wanted to see -- Lasko said the other day he wanted to see 15 extended minutes or give or take with De'Ron at a high pace. Is there growth there --
COACH MILLER: He played 24 minutes tonight and he was exhausted in a couple of stretches. I think that's when the big fellow in the second half started just to get easy catches and got around him a couple times. But I also thought he played better throughout longer stretches tonight. He played 24 minutes, I don't know if that's the most he's played, but we've asked him to do, that's definitely the most he's been able to deal with.

And De'Ron will be a guy we gotta keep out on the floor. If he's able to play 24, 25 minutes a night, it's probably a good thing for him right now early. If he ever gets to be a guy that can play 30 then I think he's worked himself into game shape. De'Ron has to play in games to get in game shape, and thankfully, like I told those guys, we've got a ton of them coming.

Q. You talked about Al, and I knows he's on restriction, but you mentioned he's a guy that can really contribute. What did you see in a limited role tonight?
COACH MILLER: I think the one thing about Al you didn't get a chance to see is he got some good looks and didn't knock them down. He's a really good shooter. I think he's going to be a guy that can really continue to make good shots for us.

He makes good decisions. He's an efficient player. Doesn't need to dribble it a ton to make plays. I think he had that one drive where he got, coming off the right side of the elbow, which he curled off a little screen and slid it in for a basket. And he also had a finish with the left hand at the basket. He's like a smooth offensive player.

And he's trusted right now defensively although in limited action in games. And I think he's doing the right thing. So I think Al definitely has a chance to grab a really good role. He's worked hard at it. You're seeing a guy that hasn't practiced but probably 10 times this season. He's probably had, what, 30, missed at least half of them being out at least a week early and then at least another seven to ten days here recently. He doesn't even have the reps the other guys have had.

Q. You may have already said this, have you decided who to redshirt?
COACH MILLER: Race Thompson is the only guy on the team that will be redshirt. There could be some conversations maybe this week if we thought about doing something like that, but I think we'll need all hands on deck with our roster. We've got so many guys that have been banged up in their career. You never know how that's going to work with injuries.

And I also think that our young guys, maybe even Justin and Clifton who aren't playing as much right now, I've seen guys in that same role by February play double figure minutes for you at certain times if things aren't going right.

Right now the only thing that's 100 percent is Race Thompson will be redshirted this season.

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