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February 16, 2018

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Q. Talk about two-game road trip and we'll open it up for questions.
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, well, we're getting ready to start, I guess, a very, very quick finish to the season. Being able to go three games in six days, and two of them on the road, will be very challenging. Iowa, especially at home, very, very difficult team to guard, can really score and play with great pace, and that's a big concern for us.

Moving into the next one, haven't thought a whole lot about Nebraska but they're having a terrific season. They have a very versatile team, and I think playing there right now is probably one of the harder places to play in the league. We have our work cut out for this on this two-game stand, but we have to try to get ourselves ready to go against Iowa.

Q. What have you learned, you and the team, just playing on the road in the Big Ten?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, it's a difficult league to play on the road. In my opinion it's probably one of the hardest leagues to win on the road, just due to the fact of the venues that you play in with the home crowds, and obviously the teams that you're playing are very good and very well-coached. I think we've been competitive in most. Some we haven't been as good, but I think here of late in the season, when teams have a lot on the line, your focus isn't as much about the road venue as much as it is doing your job and finding a way regardless of the circumstances to hang in there. It's to your benefit, the longer you're in the game, the more confidence you get.

Q. As you look back to the Iowa game in December, what was working really well that day that you think might carry over?
ARCHIE MILLER: It seems like a lifetime ago to be honest with you. It's like two seasons ago. We had a different team at that point in time. De'Ron was still healthy. I vaguely remember coming off the Michigan game and having a quick turnaround to get ready to go, but we played really well that game, on offense in particular I thought we had some pretty good moments. But we're a different team. They're a different team, too. They're much better offensively. They're playing a lot more zone right now than they did in the first game, so I think those are two things we're probably going to look at. But their motion is very good. Their break is really good. For us transition defense and just being able to guard in the half court is going to be a very, very tall task for us.

I don't think either team can really rely on Game 1 for a lot of ammunition to say this is what we have to do. It's almost like two seasons ago.

Q. Devonte is holding out of practice right now. Is he on any kind of restriction?
ARCHIE MILLER: No, he's fine.

Q. One of the things (indiscernible) bringing in the half court defense. How long do you think it took this team to feel comfortable with it?
ARCHIE MILLER: We're still evolving in it. I think every team, regardless of what you're doing, it takes time. It takes repetition. But I think at this time of the season, we've played so many games and have had so many practices that we're more connected. I think we have a good understanding of what we're trying to accomplish, and we haven't changed a ton, we just kind of kept working at it and gotten better. That's probably one of the most significant improvements and probably one of the biggest traits to this team has been its coachability, its ability to play through mistakes throughout the course of the season, coming back off of losses and continuing to work at it, not getting down on themselves, and I think here of late, we're probably playing our best ball, which is a good sign. But defensively we've really hung our hat on that work ethic and just trying to establish the base of what we do. I think we have the majority of that in, and I think we have guys who understand that it's very, very important to the future, not only of the season but moving down the line, it's going to be a staple.

We have our guys playing hard right now. I think most of these guys right now really are bought in and locked in on it, and that's probably the biggest thing as anything.

Q. Back to playing on the road, just getting off to good starts, which is something you guys have gotten better at, how important is that, and how is the current lineup maybe better suited to get you guys off to good starts?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, getting out on the road, obviously, getting off to a good start is always important. I think we've really focused in on that. It was a big talking point at Rutgers. I thought coming off the Ohio State road game we weren't ready to go at the beginning, and it really cost us a lot of uphill battles the rest of that game, and we painted that picture for our guys here recently of how more than that first four minutes of the game is to get off to a good start, to play hard, to play mistake free, don't turn the ball over, in particular on the road, don't quick shoot on the road, things like that. I think those couple points have been hammered home. We've gotten off to better starts here of late.

I do think the lineup change has helped us. I think we have our most confident group on the floor to start the game, and they're also -- I think Freddie has brought an element of playing hard and rebounding, and Devonte has done a decent job here of late of being more of a facilitator than a scorer. Not that he hasn't scored in games, but he also has had some assist numbers that have really stood out. I think the lineup change has helped. It's brought a confident group onto the floor, but getting off to good starts and being sure with the ball and doing some of those things is important, yeah.

Q. Particularly in practice, where has Clifton been kind of developed since the start of the season?
ARCHIE MILLER: Oh, he's really developed. He's really improved. The thing that Clifton has to continue to do is his strength and conditioning. It's the physicality of the game. It's taking the hits and delivering hits and doing all that stuff that he's gradually gotten better with. His skill level has really, really improved, shooting the ball, handling the ball. His understanding of the game is much better. I know he's not getting as many minutes as maybe he would like or whatever, but he's doing a nice job with our team, and he's developing.

Q. How important is it to have a guy like Juwan (indiscernible)?
ARCHIE MILLER: Oh, without question. Any time you're a young guy on a team at this level, you want to have some examples of some guys on how you have to do things. I think Juwan is a great example of not only game day but what he does every day in practice, going against him, competing against him. He's been an everyday guy, and he's been a great teammate. Some of the stuff that he's doing in the games right now is incredible, but we also see him do it in practice, as well. It's always good to have a guy to look at and say, that's how it's supposed to be done.

Q. Do you think -- the bench plays off 38 points, how do you translate that on the road, keeping those guys confident?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, confidence is everything, and I think trust in your bench, giving those guys the ability to play, and I thought last -- the other night when we had some different lineups in the game, I thought those guys did a great job. Justin was aggressive, was able to finish the ball a couple times for us. Al was terrific. He also made big plays in big moments, and I thought Josh gave good minutes. He hit a big three for us, a couple good drives, made his free throws. So it's important at this time of year that you're not a five, six-man group. It's important at this time of year when you're playing the hardest games of the season that you can count on different guys doing different things and you trust them, and I think those guys the other night really kind of showed and embodied our team a little bit that clearly we're still working, we're still getting better and you still have guys with great attitudes because you're not able to take advantage of those opportunities if you're not engaged every day, so I think it's a credit to them.

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