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December 14, 2017

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Opening Statement

ARCHIE MILLER: It’s always a difficult balance when you’re a college basketball player, balancing this week of exams along with a long week of practice as you head in to this weekend’s game against Notre Dame. We’ve taken it pretty slow, we’ve had some heavy testing days later in the week for us so we’ve practiced relatively early and then as we ease in to the weekend, you have to try and balance a little bit of rest. Saturday’s game is coming quick but we also have a very quick turnaround with the game on Monday as well, so we have to be smart here at the backend of the week. Obviously excited to play Notre Dame on Saturday.

Q: What are your thoughts on an event like the Crossroads Classic?

ARCHIE MILLER: It’s an opportunity for our team to play in a great venue in Indianapolis where clearly our brand is very strong. You’re playing against a Notre Dame team that has the potential to have a really special season coming off a couple of years here where they’ve gone deep in to the tournament and had a great experience. You’re playing against a great team in a great venue. Clearly being in Indianapolis is going to be a great feeling for us. Another nationally-televised game for the world to see.

Q: Notre Dame has had a run of consistently good teams. What is Mike Brey done to make that happen?

ARCHIE MILLER: I think they have a great philosophy on how they want to play. They do an unbelievable job of recruiting to their style. I think within recruiting to their style they get great fit, and they develop their guys, and they get older, and I think you're seeing an amazing, as consistent of a basketball program that there's been in the nation, a little bit probably under the radar as their success that they've been able to have in switching the leagues, even moving into the ACC where it hasn't been easy for every team that's done that.

So I really give their staff credit. Coach Brey is obviously a great coach. Notre Dame has got a great brand. They do a fabulous job of recruiting to their system and style, and they get great carryover from year to year with that continuity. And I think that's probably the one thing you marvel at is the continuity and the chemistry that they've been able to establish just within their program with their players.

Q. With Bonzie Colson specifically, what makes him such a challenge to go up against?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, he's a very unique player in that he's got tremendous IQ. He's a very, very intelligent player. He knows how to get to the foul line. He knows where to pick his spots. He's become really skilled over the course of his career, not only being able to be a mismatch guy down low on smaller guys but also a mismatch guy on the perimeter, being able to shoot it and drive it. But again, I think he really fits how Coach Brey wants to play. He's positionless, and he's in a free-flowing motion offense where you really have to be concerned that he can beat you from a lot of different areas. Tremendous rebounder, as well.

Clearly he's off to a great start. He's going to be one of a few guys that will be mentioned for Player of the Year kind of a candidate type of a guy, so he's definitely a difficult matchup.

Q. Obviously Notre Dame has got plenty of wins and had a good stretch in Maui, but their two losses, Michigan State and Ball State. Did you see anything watching film that shows ways you can attack them?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, I think the Michigan State game is a game that's hard for anyone in America to go in there and play them. I don't necessarily think that's a good one to take a look at and say you can duplicate just because of the road venue, the team they played against, the hype around the game. That was a big one.

The Ball State game, really Ball State did a nice job on both ends of the floor. But I thought they out-hustled them a little bit just in terms of 50/50 rebounds. There were some loose balls that they ended up getting that Notre Dame hadn't given up, and I'm sure that's probably one of the big reasons why they were able to bounce back pretty big on the road at Delaware. They're a team that is very, very hard to play against, and they've got great experience, great chemistry and continuity with their rotation, and I think you're playing against a team that has a toughness about them and knows how to win.

Q. Just being a full month into the regular season, where have you seen some of the most growth after the first 10 games and what's atop that checklist for what needs to improve over the next month or so?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, we're playing harder. I think we believe in what we're doing a lot more than we did a month ago. There's not as much, I hope this is going to go well for us tonight or as much, I'm hoping that we play well. There's a lot more confidence in how we do things and what we do, and we're being able to establish I think our style for longer stretches and we're able to play harder for longer stretches. We're better at some of the things that we really struggled with.

But at the same time, we still have a lot of room to grow. We can really continue to develop our half-court defense. That's something I think that's going to be something that we week by week have to challenge ourselves to continue to get better. The better we are on the defensive side of the ball, the easier it becomes for us. I think offensively we're still trying to find that chemistry where we have a lot of different guys playing at their best. It just seems like we haven't had a lot of chemistry and continuity offensively where we've had four and five guys clicking on all cylinders. We've had a couple here and there, and then we've had some guys that haven't played well, and then certain guys that were playing well aren't.

So we're trying to find that balance of chemistry, continuity, consistent offense, and then defensively just week by week just trying to sort of hammer that rock every day and become a team that's better at half-court defense and becomes a team that hopefully in time is hard to play against.

Q. You mentioned Zach Roberts is a guy who's kind of climbing the ladder even when he wasn't playing earlier in the season. In a couple games recently, what has led to him being able to earn that type of play?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, I think when you're playing early in the season, kind of like we alluded to, what are we getting better at, I think we're learning how to play harder. We're learning how to be more competitive out there, more physical, and Zach is a guy that brings all those attributes to the table. It's something that you can as a coach say I can count on him doing this, and part of what it is has nothing to do with scoring points. It has everything to do with accountability, playing extremely hard, playing to win, being where you're supposed to be. He's one of those guys that if you just watch our team here a little bit lately, he's giving us a lot of winning plays. As you study your group, as you study your team every day in practice, you have to give those guys, reward those guys who give it to you every single day the opportunity to get in there in the game. And I think he's earned that right, and even if you watched our game against Louisville, we've watched the film probably three or four times, Zach did a tremendous job in the game. He competed against Deng Adel for his amount of time out there, he gave us offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, some loose ball plays, and he helped us in that game compete to win.

I think that he'll continue to do that for our team because I think he's established himself right now as a guy we can count on for great effort.

Q. Has Juwan Morgan taken his leadership role off the court as well?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think so. I think Juwan has done a nice job since we first got here of being -- everyday approach, being a guy that communicates, is a guy that brings in a vibe of working hard all the time. What he does in the games right now, I've said this in the past, I think you can pretty much count on his practices looking the same, so he is leading by example, but he's doing it every day, and I think everybody gets a little bit more confident with their voice, but I definitely think in the game, as important as anything that he does, is communication and huddles, his communication on the floor because I think guys are looking to him right now as an established guy that's getting the job done, and need him to talk more. Encouraged him after the Louisville game. Thought he played well against Louisville, picked up a couple tough fouls early in the game, which if he doesn't do that, he probably has even more stats to provide, but more so than anything, being able to communicate, anchor our team a little bit when things aren't going well.

Q. I think Collin has been right around 20 minutes the last couple weeks. What do you balance when you kind of look at his minutes, and what goes into picking his spots and deciding when he's in?
ARCHIE MILLER: Feel I think more than anything. Foul trouble obviously plays a part in things, but Collin is a guy that's important to what we're doing. He's sort of a quarterback who's not really a point guard, but he's sort of a quarterback for our team. He's emotional. He communicates, and when he's out there, generally you're going to see a guy that's playing really hard, and he's giving us everything he has.

I think his minute distribution is something that has to go with feel, has to go with rotation, and clearly who he's in with at times. But he'll continue to play a big role for our team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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