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January 25, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Michigan - 69, Indiana - 46

ARCHIE MILLER: Congratulations to Michigan. Really good team. Having a great season. Came in here and did what they want, when they wanted, how they wanted, and that's really disappointing. Our team in general right now is soft, and we're also for whatever reason right now scared, and you can just tell by the way that we played.

The fight isn't there right now, and the confidence isn't there on either end of the floor to be able to capitalize on any type of opportunity that we have, to be honest with you. There's nothing we're doing well.

You know, there's nowhere to go. You just move on to the next step, try to figure it out, and you've got to find a way to get some confidence in yourself, which for us is a preparation to go on the road and play Rutgers, so that's what we're worried about right now. But playing against the level of competition in this league right now and what we've got going on, we're just not playing at a high enough level, and that really, really to be honest with you, bothers me. Just in terms of being able to play at home and watching us through the course of the season, we've really, really changed the face of who we are in the course of the season. We're not the same team. And it starts with our effort level, our attitude, how hard we play, and then that streams into everything else that you do.

Very disappointed. Obviously take full responsibility for it. We've got to put our big boy pants on here and start showing up.

Q. How do you break -- if you could answer it easy then it wouldn't be happening, but how do you think you break that circle of getting guys more energetic but also getting guys more confident at the same time?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's hard. You've got to work hard every day at it. You get confidence as a player with the way you prepare and how you work. You're ready. I can't say that we had a bad prep or were bad coming in. We spent a lot of time on our first game with Michigan and probably did some things well. If you look at our defensive numbers it wasn't a terribly statistically poorly played defensive game, it's just an inept offensive, inept. I mean, you can't get down 20-2 at home against Michigan or anybody for that matter, and it's -- it's not good.

Q. Have you begun to try some different things with your staff in terms of more mental framework coming into a game? Is there anything you want to try to throw out there at these guys?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's not mental games. You can't start trying to trick guys into doing all the stuff. The bottom line is work. Get back to work, get on the court, work, go have a great attitude, get great leadership, stay with them more, spend more time with them. It's just work. You've got to get back on the court, and we've got to do our part and we've got to get better. At the end of the day, we're deteriorating through this grind that we've been on, and in all reality, we're playing against really good teams. You have to play better.

It starts -- especially tonight, man, it's hard to fathom that you couldn't get off to a better start like that in that environment. And we had big games all season long, it's just teams change. Sometimes teams change as the players change during the course of the season, whether that's lack of confidence or whatever it is, but right now we're an entire group that does not have the confidence. It's not one guy. It's our team. Our team doesn't have confidence right now.

How do you get confidence? The only way you get confidence is you work your butt off and you go back and you rep and you get shots and you work on their game and you talk to them and at the end of the day keep showing up because you keep showing up and keep showing up, eventually good things will happen. But for us right now, it's our next opportunity. That's what we worry about right now, Rutgers.

Q. (No microphone).
ARCHIE MILLER: Our lack of shooting. When you can't make shots, the game is hard. And that's been a common theme here in the last two to three weeks, just being able to hit an open one, being able to get a couple guys to be able to make a couple, step up, make the open lay-up, finish on a two-on-one. We're just not capitalizing on offense just in terms of being able to make the perimeter shot, and we have better shooters than we shot tonight. I'd be hard pressed to see if you could shoot worse than that, to be honest with you.

But shooting the ball has been a big concern for us all season. We've been able to play through that all season, and then I think just in general, our lack of depth and overall lack of depth as January has moved around, we've got some guys right now in a rut, physically, mentally, the whole deal, and we've got to keep working just to get out of it. I think at the end of the day, a couple shots go in, you feel a little bit better and it opens up the game. But definitely the perimeter shot is playing a big role in what we're doing right now.

Q. I know injuries have been a thing all year, but do you feel like there's guys that maybe the fatigue level is more advanced than it should be for them at this point in the year?
ARCHIE MILLER: Some guys are playing too many minutes right now. I mean, that's clear. But we are who we are, we are what we are right now. We have to deal with it. We have a Wednesday night road game, and we have to get guys regrouped and ready to go, and whoever is available for the game will play, and that's just kind of what it is. But yeah, guys are playing extended minutes. They're going to, and to be honest with you, there's no real answer for that one.

Q. You kind of touched on the lack of shooting and the depth being things that are holding this team back on offense. Is it almost at a point where that's something that can't be reversed or can't be addressed for the season? How do you go about flipping a switch like that for the rest of the season?
ARCHIE MILLER: I mean, at the end of the day, certain guys are going to step up to the plate and they're going to get better, and that's our job is to make them better. One guy gets a little bit better, it really helps the cause. It helps the camaraderie. You get a couple guys playing a little bit better and a couple guys making an easy shot, and when you're open, that lets the air kind of out of the building where when you miss it, it's kind of like, ugh. But I think just in general tonight, though, you can take shooting out the window, whatever you want to say about shooting. The shooting in my opinion and the confidence was a lack thereof. Our attack mentality in terms of starting the game on fire ready to go, playing hard, and the other team scores, scores, scores, it's kind of like, what's going on here, and then it steamrolls you down on the other end when you're not able to capitalize and be able to answer back.

There's no real answers. It's just work. It just is what it is; it's work. You've got to fight like crazy to make them better.

Q. To go back to what you said at the beginning, obviously all these things sort of roll together, but can you pinpoint why this team's personality changed, like you said? It was pretty tough, especially in December, they found a way, and they haven't lately.
ARCHIE MILLER: I just think in general, we've dealt with a lot. We've had a lot of guys in and out, and it's hurt us a lot. Not to make excuses; injuries are a part of what you're going on, but we don't have the depth we once had in December. November and December we were playing eight, nine guys. Our front court had a good rotation; our backcourt was able to, especially with -- playing five guys, you're down one, you're down two guys, all of a sudden your depth really changes. And in our big game, as in some of our big wins, De'Ron has played a part of that. Some of those games Devonte has played a big role in that. You take two juniors who are Big Ten players who have played in all Big Ten games, they're not playing right now, and that hurts. We're playing right now with, in my opinion, a younger group than we had earlier. We had more depth earlier. We've got to get that back, and I'm hopeful that it will return.

Q. You talked about how you have to get tougher. Does that have to come from them, or does that come from you?
ARCHIE MILLER: Probably both. Just keep driving it home, keep working at it in terms of film. Practice habits got to continue to get better and we've got to keep working, and then as an individual player you have to respond. You have to respond and step up to the plate and you've got to be ready to swing. I mean, you can't go up there tentative on either end of the floor.

Our guys have worked hard, though. We had good work, had a good practice yesterday. Guys are coming to work. It's just really disappointing; you feel for our group just because you want them to play better. We'll find a way.

Q. I want to go back to fatigue. How tired is Juwan? Obviously he still gets a double-double, but it seems like he's giving every little last inch of himself.
ARCHIE MILLER: He is, yeah. It's so hard to take him off the floor when you get down. If you're in a game and you feel good that you're in a rhythm and things like that, you can get him more blows, but we need to have him on the floor. Yeah, he's fatigued. He's tired. He's having to work really, really hard for every basket. He's having to defend all over the floor, and in reality, yeah, he needs probably a little bit more spell. But when you get down in a game and you're in the type of game we were in tonight, it's kind of hard to imagine pulling him off the floor.

Q. You mentioned having a good workout yesterday, and I know that practice has to have been looking better than what that looked like tonight. You go half of a half without getting a field goal. What's different in practice that you're seeing that you're not seeing out on the floor?
ARCHIE MILLER: You know, I think in general, when you're playing against in practice and you're working on your stuff and there's no pressure to be able to do it -- not that there's no pressure, but you play more freely. You're not worried about missing or making a mistake or whatever. I think when you get out here and you tee that first shot up and no one is around you and it doesn't go in, next thing you know there's that doubt, and that hurts us at times. But it's actually good that our team is still engaged practice wise, but I think the game disappointment is a byproduct of our toughness level and how hard we're playing right now, and we're feeling sorry for ourselves at times during the game, and you can't do that. You have to play through it, and part of that's growing up and part of that's a couple guys getting older as the season has gone on, but our young guys, they're having to play a big, big role against really good Big Ten teams. It's not like they're going to be perfect. They're going through it for the first time.

Yeah, I mean, our practices got to get better. I think our team has got to continue to learn to do some things a little bit different, but right now we're a shell of where we were a month ago. We've just got to find a way to regroup, and one win really helps that. One win would really help a lot of things. You just -- that's the quest is to find a way, and this isn't the league that you're really looking around saying, yeah, the next one will be easy. No, it won't be; it's not going to be very easy at all. You've got to get that notion out of your head and just stay with it. Block out the noise. As a player, I take great pride in looking back on how I would feel as a player right now, and what would I want from my coaches right now, and bottom line is I would want somebody to just work me. Man, just get me better, find a way to do that. That's what I would want. I would want to be with my staff. I'd want to be on the floor right now working. That feeling doesn't go away until you work it out, and that's what we've got to give to them.

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