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February 21, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

ARCHIE MILLER: Obviously we are coming off a hard fought game on Tuesday. I was really proud of how our guys competed. I thought Purdue competed equally as hard. (It was) probably one of the most physical, hard-played games that we have been a part of. We came up a little short, but in reviewing the game with our team and some of the things that we did, we have some positives that we can take out of that. This needs to stay with us as we finish up the remainder of our last three or four weeks here as the regular season concludes.

Going to Iowa, after playing them a little over two and half weeks ago in a hard fought game here. They made some tremendous opportune basket at times that were deflating in the game - under five seconds on the shot clock, under two on the shot clock. They really came up big making some shots. We didn't take care of the ball as well as we needed to and it changed the course of that game at the end of the first half. So they played with a lead and we were able to get it within one possession, but they made some really key plays down the stretch.

So we are going to have to be better in a lot of areas going over there on Friday night. In particular, being able to play hard without fouling. Foul trouble was a problem in that first game. Juwan (Morgan) wasn't able to stay in. And then we are going to have to do a better job of taking care of it against their (changing) defenses. Obviously we understand how good they are, especially in such a hard place to play.

After that, we are back at home against a really good Wisconsin team. But for us, we are really focusing on this next one.

Q. You mentioned after the Purdue game not only wanting to see the mindset but the preparation and the practice sustained. Are you seeing that mindset and approach the last couple days?
ARCHIE MILLER: We had a really good approach going into the Purdue game. Disappointment during the past weekend's game against Minnesota. We had some guys really step outside themselves and communicate openly, like we have talked about. We had a much better feel and a much better approach. Yesterday we were really good in film on some stuff that we worked on on the floor. Today we'll get back on the court again and hopefully that's the case. That's the one thing that we have to hold ourselves accountable for right now is the disposition of what we're trying to play and what purpose do we have, and I think if we can continue to do that, we'll continue to play hard, and we'll continue to play against really good teams and have opportunities.

Q. Is that something that maybe is particularly important for a young team, just that ability to open up a little bit, not I assume being touchy-feely, but guys who maybe aren't comfortable being a little bit more honest or being a little bit more critical, self-critical, critical with their teammates?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think at the end of the day, the personalities of your team usually starts with your upperclassmen. Our upperclassmen, we don't have a ton. We do have a lot of younger guys that are getting experienced to the hard realities of college basketball for the first time. You know, it's hard, it's difficult, and to do that, at times you kind of want to go away, and I think that's what our team has to break through with is more not going away from one another, more of going with one another, communicating better, pressuring each other in practice and doing more in terms of understanding like to get the results that we want to get, we're going to have to do it together. It's not going to be, hey, I'll go to practice today and see how it goes. It's got to be a real approach and a disposition, like I said, to do this thing better than we've been doing it, and I think definitely communication -- young guys in particular learning how to talk is always a huge thing, and your experienced guys being able to express themselves, as well.

Communication is a big part. This team has got a quiet personality naturally. You've got some reserved guys. But you've got to be in between the lines, and especially while you're working, you've got to be able to communicate with one another.

Q. Close losses to Purdue and Iowa. Is there anything execution wise that you need to be doing down the stretch of close games like that?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, we've come up short in our last two or three games at home just with not good execution out of time-outs, not being able to get a good shot. We've turned it over a few times, and part of that is just getting better. You've got to show it on film, you've got to watch it, you've got to drill it more in practice, and sometimes it just comes down to a play. This league as you just watch the games, it's usually coming down to the last four minutes, and whoever is able to get the job done in those four minutes on both ends, you've got to execute on both ends, usually has a chance to win, making less mistakes.

We got the stop, we ended up getting a stop on that last possession, and give Haarms credit on a great tap. That was a 50/50 play. Juwan had the ball almost in his hands, as well, and he made a great play, a winning play that knocked it in. But there were so many little things that led up to that moment that you can also control that we've got to continue to just kind of address and hone in on those things.

Q. How much of a difference do you see between the offense you guys are practicing behind the scenes and the one that shows up in games and kind of struggles? Is there a big difference there?
ARCHIE MILLER: I don't necessarily know if it's a big difference. I think when you're in practice, obviously you play a little bit more freely. You're able to make more mistakes without the public eye, so to speak. But what you do in practice gives you great confidence that you can do it in a game, and the one thing is we're just not shooting the ball from the perimeter as well as we need to. We sometimes get good shots, sometimes we're right there to be able to get a good look, and it's not going down, and I think part of it is we just need some guys to step up and make some shots, and it makes it a little bit easier. Sometimes it's as simple as that.

Our work in practice and what we're doing, we're spending a lot of time on some things, and hopefully we can get some carryover and some translation to be able to score more baskets.

Q. Kind of along those lines, aside from Romeo, you haven't had a ton of consistent scoring from other guards, guys like Al and Devonte. Has there more of a concerted effort to get those guys going offensively or is that something you work on in practice?
ARCHIE MILLER: Working on them. I think those guys, we're really trying to get those guys to be aggressive right now, Rob, Devonte, Al, as well, those guys know right now we need those guys to be aggressive. They have to have an aggressive mentality, and they have to be willing to try to make plays for us. I think we had some opportunities in the game against Purdue where our guards were going to have to make some plays. It was a very well defended game on both ends. It was a very hard, physical game where you weren't getting to the line a ton so you're going to have to make some, and we weren't able to stretch the floor a whole lot from three obviously, but we weren't also able to get a whole lot in the paint; I think we were 7 for 27 in and around the basket, so it was counterproductive. We didn't get a whole lot of anything going, and we missed some easy ones, too.

Q. Was Tuesday more of that defensive identity that you hope to hang your hat on with this team?
ARCHIE MILLER: Without question. I think it's one of our -- maybe our best defensive performance of the season against a really good offensive team, and I'm sure Purdue felt like they could have made more shots, as well, but it was definitely a game that as you look at it and you hang your hat on what can you control, our effort level was right there for 40 minutes. We had very little lapses at times during the game, lockouts, we had balls come off the rim and hit the floor. Guys were really dialed in and doing that, and without question, in this league and how we want to do things, that's the type of identity you want to have, especially in that type of game, the competitiveness.

Q. Kind of a zoom-out question, but a lot has been made in the last couple days about some things that were chanted during the game Tuesday night. As a coach you talk a lot about crowd support and how important it is for your team. What's the line between wanting a crowd that's energetic and tough on an opponent but maybe one that doesn't cross wherever that line is?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, you know, we have great fans. We have unparalleled support, and that arena the other night was electric, and it's one that you want to be in. Obviously when it comes down to what was going on and what was said in the game, I wasn't paying attention to anything, so I didn't hear it until it was pointed out to me afterwards. But the question, you don't want to get into the personal side of things with players. They're out there working hard. They're out there playing and competing. It's hard enough to be in the public eye all the time. But it was unfortunate, and we'll move on from it. I definitely don't ever condone any personal sort of attacks or things like that.

But without question, the arena, though, was electric. Our fans are well-regarded, and I think our university handled it in a first-class manner.

Q. Kind of along those lines, when you have such an emotional, such a physical game that your team obviously put a lot toward, is there a concern about that dropping off or having to maintain that to Iowa?
ARCHIE MILLER: I don't think that you really have the room to really think that way. I mean, we're going to have to be that way almost in every game, and if we're not, then we know good enough to win. That effort level right there is something hopefully you can build on and hang your hat on and say, look, at the end of the day, make shots, don't make shots, good play, bad play, continue with the disposition that you're in a competitive mind state, the whole team, everyone that's in there, and everyone that's on the bench, everyone who's working in practice. That's what we have to hold ourselves accountable to to find a way to crawl to the top and get a win.

You know, emotional game, yes, disappointing, yes, but it's our responsibility to be ready for Iowa.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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