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November 13, 2018

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

ARCHIE MILLER: Marquette is as good of an offensive team as you'll see, challenge you in a lot of different ways with their shooting and their pace. Markus Howard probably right now I would say is if not the premier scoring guard in the country, he's going to be up there by the end of the season, and they have a slew of wings and just size and they can come at you with a couple different lineups that really cause problems.

It will be a big test for us tomorrow night, especially for our young guys.

Q. Having a week like this right now, early November, is this something you're eager to kind of see how guys respond, get guys into this kind of situation?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I mean, we're going to have to get prepared. When you look at the remaining month of November, early December with two conference games on the horizon, and the ACC-Big Ten challenge road game at the end of the month, you're going to have to test yourself going into those games to know where you're really at and what you have to improve on, and that's the good thing. We play against a couple unique styles this week, as well, that will help our guys experience those things down the line.

You know, a true road game at Arkansas is going to be a really, really difficult environment. It's a difficult style to play against and prepare for. So we have -- early on we're going to test our guys in terms of how we prepare and what we have to improve on rapidly to be good, once we get down to late December, early January.

Q. You mentioned Markus Howard, but obviously outside of him, what kind of challenge does Marquette present?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, I think, number one, they're very good in transition, and they can really shoot the three. Marcus himself made over 100 last year at over 40 percent. Sam Hauser made close to 100 at almost 50 percent at 6'8". They bring in his younger brother Joey, who's tremendously skilled in the front line, and then I think Cain shot over 40 percent, and shooting a good percentage. So they're a prolific shooting team.

So it starts in transition with their ability to get to the basket with Howard, his ability to shoot, his ability to score, and then they spread you out in the half court with some great action and good players. They have a really good team. Like I said, I think last year they were in the top maybe 15 in efficiency, and I think they'll be right up at the top this year in terms of offensive efficiency. They're a really tough team to handle.

Q. To follow up, not just in terms of challenging your guys and really preparing them early, but also in terms of building a strong non-conference resume, is this kind of the formula you want? I know some of this stuff is like the --
ARCHIE MILLER: You know they're built in. Those opportunities are built in, so you count on high major opponents, but you look at our opportunity at Arkansas -- our hope would be at the end of non-conference that everyone looks at us and says, those guys tried like crazy to build a really tough resume, and I think we've done that.

Q. With their three-point shooting, do you change some of the ways you change your pack line defense for this one time?
ARCHIE MILLER: No, you've got to be really good at what you do, and it starts and stops really in transition defense and having floor balance and not giving up those easy threes, the advance-pass-up-the-floor threes or the trailer threes or just -- you don't stop the ball early enough and a guy gets right to the three-point line and shoots it. It starts in transition. In the half court it's always going to come down to how hard we play on the ball and how good are we going to be on the ball. Off-the-ball positioning and being where you're supposed to be is the key to not give up threes. Usually when you're not in position, you're not disciplined. Typically you're out of position, you're going to react and you're you're going to run in and you're going to do things that aren't good, so your positioning is everything, and being able to guard the ball is everything.

Now, I will say that they will probably for the first time in a long time have really challenged our staff and have challenged some of our ball screen coverages just on who's setting them and who's using them. It's a very unique team in those regards where they could have five three-point shooters on the floor at one time.

So those are the things that I think as a staff we've just really got to feel confident in how we communicate with our players, and we want them to be confident in the game with no confusion. So that's what we've worked on here the last couple days, and we'll have another day today to prepare and also tomorrow to talk some more. But it's going to come down -- at the end of the day, it's going to come down to how hard are we willing to play in front of a great crowd. You've got some young guys in there for the first time with that high major feeling with 17,000 people in there, and those guys are going to have to be -- third game in their college career, they're going to have to be more ready than we've ever asked somebody to be ready for.

It presents a lot of challenges at the end of the day, though. It challenges you as a staff and it challenges you as a team to continue to focus on the little things and be good at what you do.

Q. With going against Markus Howard, is there like one guy you say, okay, you've got to be a stud tonight, you've got to do something, or is it like going to be multiple guys on him and the pack line --
ARCHIE MILLER: Every perimeter guy. Everybody on the team. It's always a team approach. It's always a team approach, but individually when you're matched up on him, that's a tough deal. You're going to have to be willing to understand he's going to make some tough ones. He's got a live dribble. He's got the ultimate green light. He's not going to stop attacking. He's a 40-minute guy, and you just have to be really tough-minded.

As we head into this one, all of our perimeter guys are going to have to do a good job, but as a team we're going to have to really be aware where he's at and what he's doing. It's going to put a lot of responsibility on some young guys in the game. It's going to put some responsibility on all five guys really being detailed and understanding that, yeah, he's going to get some, but we've got to make it hard on them.

Q. When you look at Arkansas and the way Gafford can dominate, how big of a role can De'Ron play going up against him?
ARCHIE MILLER: I haven't thought about him very much as of right now just because of Marquette, but I do know that he's probably the premier big guy in the country in terms of running to the rim. His north-south, 94-foot game is as good as it gets, and him getting off a ball screens and getting to the rim and then finding him, that's something that's -- obviously for all of our front court players is going to be important to understand. But De'Ron, hopefully he can continue to keep going and we can continue to elevate his minutes, but just in terms of pace of play the next two games, he's going to really have to bust it.

Q. Rob Phinisee is a guy that's had kind of a few different kinds of performances over these first couple games. How have you seen him build on those behind the scenes in practice? Have you seen him respond to those the way you would like?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, Rob has been doing a nice job. He's gaining confidence I think with every opportunity. Like all freshmen, he's going to have those ups and downs and some plays that are good and some plays that are bad, but Rob has been very solid. I wouldn't say he's been a pleasant surprise, but we have confidence in him. I think he has confidence in himself. His teammates have confidence in him. It's a great opportunity for him on Wednesday to continue to build on it.

Q. Has there been a diagnosis yet on Jerome?
ARCHIE MILLER: Jerome is dealing with a lower leg condition, or I should say leg condition. There's been no definitive answers yet, but he's going to be out an indefinite period of time, and we're hopeful here in the next 24 to 48 hours we can get a little bit more clarity.

Q. Going back to Arkansas real quick, the way they press, the way they put the big guy on the ball and try to make it really hard for the kid to inbounds, what are the challenges they present, especially with statistically how good they are in their building?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, they're very difficult to play in their building, and the pressure is up in their building. We've had experience as a coaching staff playing against them in our time, and you really have to be organized in your press attack, and then you have to be really organized what you do when you get it in and how you're going to play. They'll play a lot of different styles where they'll switch 1 through 5 on the ball, they'll switch 1 through 5 off the ball, their press will make it hard to get it in, and then once you cross half court, you have to be organized. It's not going to be one of those deals where you're going to be able as a coach to control the game, so to speak. They have to play.

In our time in dealing with pressure, we like to attack pressure, but we have to be very smart on the road and getting it in, and then once it's in, then our guys have to have confidence once we get into the half court that you're able to function a little bit. But they make it hard on you. They make it a very difficult game.

Q. With Zach and Devonte, do you have an idea of their availability for Wednesday night, and depending on that, who are some guys that you're expecting to count on to sort of raise their level of play if they can't go?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, Zach and Devonte are both game-time decisions I would think. They haven't done much since our last game. It's been slow recoveries. We're banged up in general right now, so it's going to put pressure on everyone. Like I said, Damezi, Romeo, Rob, Al, potentially a couple walk-on guys with minutes needed on the perimeter. Our front court guys gotta hang in there and keep working at it, but until we can get all hands on deck, it definitely is concerning, but at the same time, you do -- you control what you can control, which is the guys that are ready and the guys that are available got to be ready to do a good job.

Q. In terms of the guys that are available, obviously still managing De'Ron's minutes, but with the step up in competition, how do you see his minutes either changing or staying kind of the same, and where do you feel like he's at right now?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's got to push through right now. I think he's -- as the competition level goes up, he's a junior, he's got more experience. We're going to have to try to find ways to get him in there for more and more short bursts. Part of it is staying out of foul trouble, but without question, depending on how things are going in the game, you could see his minutes being elevated now from this point.

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