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March 10, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Rutgers - 73, Indiana - 89

ARCHIE MILLER: Good day for us in here today. Great crowd. Even though the students were on spring break, can't thank our fans enough. Very few places that can duplicate that environment for our guys and thought we fed off it. Got off to a great start. Juwan was terrific. Really gave us a cushion.

Didn't think our defense was very good in the first half. We fouled way too much but our offense was able to get fouled as well, so we were able to kind of stimie any runs that were made. We made free throws. Second half, again, Juwan in the time that he's on the floor, was just pretty much unstoppable in this game and he gave us a big boost to push that lead out to 23 and I thought we were able to comfortably work through the game. We had a lot of different guys step up and play. I thought Devonte for about the third game in a row has really played with a lot of confidence and I thought that in general, Rob, again, forced one turnover, continues to really do a good job commanding the floor for us. So for us, you know, caps off our regular season and we know we're playing on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament and I think we're excited about that.

Q. You've only had Juwan for two years, but what in that frame of time have you learned about him both as a player and as a person?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think the one thing about Juwan, he's an adult. You know, I wasn't here before he got here or in the recruiting process but from very early on we dealt with a very mature guy. He's so coachable when it comes to asking him to do things that other guys don't want to do; he does it.

You know, I think at the end of the day, he's become really, really a quality leader just because of how he operates and does his thing.

For two years, we've pretty much put him in a position to be a lot of different things, but he pretty much stuffs the stat sheet as a player. There's nothing that he really can't do. He's probably had a little bit of a month here where he hasn't been able to knock the ball in as much as he normally was in terms of percentage-wise, but he just made up for it in other ways, rebounding, blocking shots, assists.

He's just a consummate team guy. To me, he's one of the best players in the Big Ten in the last two years, and in our transition, he's given us a chance.

Q. I know you've talked about going one game at a time, but also recognizing what you guys are playing for -- but Juwan, 45 points the last two games, 17 rebounds.
ARCHIE MILLER: You know, seniors do one of two things. They either run away because it's too hard and it's on them, or they just fight and Juwan is a fighter. Fighters fight. He's given us unbelievable toughness in the back board these last four or five games where we need to rebound and he's given us presence this week in particular around the rim where he scored the ball.

To me, I don't know necessarily what anyone else in the league, but I know he had one heck of a week for out basketball team in terms of being Player of the week or whatever. If he's not, somebody else must have had an unbelievable line. Because if you look at his line the last two weeks, pretty impressive.

It was great to see him finish the way he did, as well, to go out like that. He deserves it. Everyone else is following his lead and part of what we've gotten good at here recently is we've gotten good at practice again.

It helps if all of our bodies are around and they are all practicing the right way but we also have a good vibe about us right now that they want to be in the gym and that's really important in March. We have a group of guy that is want to be around each other that want to be in the gym, usually good things will happen and I think that's sort of how this team has operated here in the last four weeks.

Q. Devonte, the last seven games --
ARCHIE MILLER: He's really settled in. He knows we need him to not make flashy plays or do anything crazy. He knows we need him to score baskets when he's open, and we need him to make plays for others.

If you could say, hey, coach, what's the difference, what's going on, he's a big part of it. He really is. He's given us an added backcourt guy that can come in and he's getting double figures or he's making good passes. Defensively, he's making steals and getting his hands on some balls.

Without question, the last three games, Michigan State, Illinois and here, he's been excellent in terms of just playing the game the right way.

Q. In terms of 23 or 29 at the foul line, how important is it not just that you're making them but getting there 29 times?
ARCHIE MILLER: We get fouled. I don't think getting fouled is our problem. I think making free throws at times is our problem, a lot of fouls called. Rutgers was able to kind of stay in the game I felt because we were fouling too much. They made their free throws, so instead of it being 14, 15, it was eight, nine, ten. But we got fouled as well and our guys went to the line, especially the first half, we were 14-for-18 in the first half maybe, something like that. That was a big deal for our team.

Q. Playing off that -- how much better is this team getting, just getting the shot at once, as opposed to settling for something?
ARCHIE MILLER: We're doing a much better job of running our offense. I think job has done a really good job of setting the table for guys and getting into stuff. Teams rebound, playing a lot of different ways, going under every screen. I think our guys have started to do a better job looking at film and seeing what's going on and we're adapting. See a lot more assists. You see a lot more open looks and I think at the end of the day, it's not as robotic. It's not as steal. There's a lot more movement. I think it's helped us. But to our guys credit, they are starting to execute better, as well. When you look at our turnovers, 13 turnovers this week as a team, that's spectacular.

Q. Looking ahead to the Big Ten Tournament, what's it going to take to feel comfortable --
ARCHIE MILLER: We're going to have to win. We're going to have to win, not one game, not two games. We're going to have to try to win as many games as we can, and that's how you control your own deal, and that's pretty much what we focused in on right now. It not about the Tournament. It not about the NCAA Tournament right now. There isn't anybody putting you in until the thing is over. So for us, can we get better, can we be the same team we've been the last three weeks, is anyone going to take their focus off, are we going to lose somebody to, you know, to lackadaisical, you know -- do we get distracted. You know, there's a huge thing about teams when they are in a good rhythm. Distractions, and now talking about other things; we haven't been able to talk about anything but survival for a long time and that's sort of why we're here because we've kind of said there really isn't anything other than just do it. You have to do it the right way, and we have a good attitude right now.

So take that to Chicago and we'll feel good about it.

Q. Playing off of that these past four wins, you've found different ways to win. You've had close wins and dominant efforts like today. How important is that going into the Big Ten Tournament that you've been able to find different ways to win in these scenarios?
ARCHIE MILLER: We've been in some grinders obviously. We've been in overtime games. We've been in leads now, holding leads, the last couple. We've been in some tough ones, whether it's Purdue, Iowa, some heartbreakers that you're just right there and I think we've been in all types of situations and circumstances. I think the one thing that feels good as a staff right now is we're not so -- we're not so like restricted with our lineup anymore. I think that's helped us being able to say, hey, this guy is not playing as well or there's foul trouble and not being so insecure about your bench. I feel like our bench has really been a good boost here in our last four or five games. I think that's the thing that you have to take into the next step with your team as you get into postseason play. You're playing teams sometimes for the second or third time in the Big Ten Tournament and you're going to need a lot of different types of hustle plays and just effort plays and guys coming in and being able to play whatever amount of minutes a night when Juwan was in trouble or being able to win the Wisconsin game with two guys fouling out. I think that's what's really sort of helped this team the most is being able to have, you know, more guys that you're able to readily throw in that you feel good about and I think without question, there's been some guys really picked up their level of play over the course of the last couple weeks, but we also have in my opinion, more, if you want to call them weapons, but more things we can do to not be so restricted.

Q. You've had three straight games that ball security has been phenomenal. How important has that been?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's huge. That and rebounding. I would say the turnovers in particular this week, when you look at our margin of victories in both games that, plays a huge role, not turning the ball over.

Rob plays a big part of that. You know, when you have a point guard who plays 30 minutes, 25, 30 minutes a game and May had his first turnover in how long today, but he controls things for us and he's steady. That helps us and gives us confidence that we know what we're doing, and the other guys are not having to make as many crazy plays.

You know, I think everyone feels good about the niche that they have, but the turnover has been great, but also the rebounding is so big in this next step. I mean, you have to rebound the ball and I think today is the first time we got out rebounded in our last four but we were there for the most part and gave up some shots in the second half, and Rutgers is a very good rebounding team, but it wasn't minus 13 like the first time we played them. It was pretty even the whole way. Those are the two big things going into the tournament -- you can't control how you shoot or who is injured, but you can control if you're rebounding or not turning it over.

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