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March 23, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 63, Arkansas - 60

ARCHIE MILLER: It was a highly contested game. We knew it was going to be hard. Having played Arkansas one time already, and having a little familiarity with them helped. With them having their big guy out makes it a little different game plan. I thought in the half court when we were working, I thought we defended well and we challenged the 3-point line, which is a huge thing. When we took care of the ball, we didn't give up as many transition baskets. When we didn't take care of the ball, that's where I think they made a killing with transition baskets.

All in all, if you are able to play this time of year and win it and we have another one coming next week. Today was a great atmosphere and we really appreciate the fans that came out to the game. We probably don't win that game without that type of crowd.

We are a game away from New York and when you are in this thing, you try to win it. We will either have Clemson or Wichita State, which both teams are really good, and it'll be a really hard game on the next one, as well, but we're really thankful to win.

Q. I know you had some turnovers, but Devonte --
ARCHIE MILLER: He's good. He's our most important sort of cog in the wheel right now. He's making a lot of plays. He's shooting the ball extremely well with great confidence. He had 11 defensive rebounds at the guard slot tonight. He also had three steals. But he's really turned it on here at the end. I think we've won six out of seven, and we probably don't win any of them without Devonte's ability on both ends of the floor, and I give him credit. He only practiced one day this week. He was sick all week long, the flu bug or whatever it was, so he really sort of rose up today when we needed him, and he again kind of showed up and made some plays for us.

Q. Where does that come from? Is it something you see in practice?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's just playing the game right now with freedom. I don't think he's worrying a whole lot about coming in the game or out of the game. I think right now he's just playing to win, and he knows he needs to make plays for us, and the one thing that he's giving us, I think everyone would say it, but you make some shots, it makes the game a lot easier, and he's helped us get over the hump here recently just with his ability to make some shots. Tough ones, too. First half he kept us going. Second half, again, hit a big one on the inside out that De'Ron kicked out to him. But he's playing as well as he has since I've been here.

Q. Obviously Al was really big last game. Green this game, Phinisee is really steady. What do you like about those three guards and how they're playing right now?
ARCHIE MILLER: They're giving you everything they've got. We've never played all season long with those three players on the court at one time, so it changes your offense. But I think all three guys are hanging in there defensively. We haven't played a real big physical team at the wing spot yet, so we've been able to get away with it. But Al, Rob and Devonte give you your highest play-making ability, especially in transition, and I think Al obviously had great looks tonight that didn't go down. He scores 22 the other game, and I thought Rob had a key stretch in the game where he made plays as a point guard, whether it was baskets or dumped balls, and Devonte, again, for a second game, like I said, he's continued to give us an added valued offensive player. If we could ever get sort of the three-point line really clicking with two guys or three guys, that just makes a world of difference for our team.

Q. Juwan and De'Ron were able to stay out of foul trouble in the first half so you were able to go to them in the second half. How effective is that lineup with both of them in there?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's very effective. De'Ron obviously played 20 minutes today and had a big impact on the game with 10 points. He got fouled and shot free throws so he was good, and then he and Juwan together give us our most physical presence where we can throw the ball inside, and they do a good job obviously on the offensive glass for us, as well. So that was big, and this next game I'm assuming without knowing either team, we're going to need our biggest, strongest guys ready to go for these next two.

Q. What were you looking at fouling up three and then not fouling on that last possession? Or did you want to foul that last possession?
ARCHIE MILLER: Absolutely. We called time-out to foul, and it's just the way it goes sometimes. We definitely wanted to foul on the catch in the quarter court, and we got that one. Took the ball out, executed press offense, got the foul, Devonte goes to the line and stretches it three. We call time-out and obviously wanted him to catch it in the front court and then have to dribble across half court and smack it down at half court. Devonte didn't foul, and obviously the guy got a shot off. But we were definitely looking to foul. We've always tried to do that under 11 and between 5 and 11, and you learn from the future. If that thing banks in there's some guys looking around funny. We got lucky.

Q. You played all year with Romeo, past couple of games without. The fact that the lineup moved or changed all through the year, how do you think that prepared this team to just be without one of their guys?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I mean, we've played so many games without so many guys available, I think different guys have stepped up, and now that Romeo is not involved, that's a heavy window of minutes, which last game Damezi and Zach played a little bit, and then today we were able to play the three guards and Zach gave good minutes. We'll see. We just keep plugging in the guys. We've got to go with it. Players at this time of year want to play, so they're excited.

Q. De'Ron seems to be moving pretty well. He was making -- diving on the floor. Do you feel like he's as healthy as he's been all season long?
ARCHIE MILLER: Mm-hmm, yeah, I think he's been playing pretty good basketball for us the last month and a half. He's had big games, he's had really key games for us. Today was another one. He was able to get 20-some minutes. I thought he worked really hard after the St. Francis game, putting himself in a good spot mentally to be ready to go today, and he's going to have to be ready to go whether we play Tuesday or Wednesday of next week because the size that we'll play with these next two teams will be more like a Big Ten game.

Q. There were people lined up outside before the doors opened at 10:30, big crowd for an NIT game. What was the impact of the crowd today?
ARCHIE MILLER: Oh, man, can't thank our fans enough. The environment in there was as good as we've had, the fans that are coming here want to be here, and our players really benefitted from it today. To be able to win that type of a game without that type of road advantage for the opponent, definitely without question can't thank them enough, and I'm assuming and hopefully we play this next one, we'll have a similar version of it. But it's incredible to watch them all stand up, line up, doors open and fill in, and we had an excellent, excellent crowd today. They were very, very helpful.

Q. I thought Zach looked a little more active today --
ARCHIE MILLER: He did, yeah.

Q. How much progress has he made health-wise?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's probably about 60 percent, 65 percent. I mean, his back isn't as bad anymore, but his foot is really limiting him from being able to really cut and move, but here the last couple games I think he's just -- he's went with it, and in particular today, I thought he had a good bounce about him. Hustle rebound, deflected balls, made a couple baskets, and he was good.

Q. What's the latest on Romeo's status? Do you think he's possible for Tuesday or Wednesday?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's potentially -- yeah, it's potential. He's had more doctors' appointments here in the last couple days, we're getting him some more clarity, some X-rays, some MRIs and some things just to make sure we're good, and I think that we feel good that he's making progress and he's feeling better. But until he says I feel great, we're not going to play -- he's not practicing. So we'll see. I do think he's making progress. We're getting a lot of information from the doctors and whatnot, and he's taking his time with his rehab and making sure that he's doing his part trying to get back, but he's sore. His pain is moving around a little bit, whether that's alignment or SI, but I don't think it's anything long-term that's going to be serious. The kid has logged a lot of minutes this season, and any time you have your back is jarred or it doesn't feel good. Anyone who's ever experienced that, you're very uncomfortable. So he's not going to be able to do anything until he gets that thing feeling pretty good. So we're hopeful. Got a couple more days to see where he's at. If he's not there, we'll play the game without him, and if longer it goes, the better chance he has of coming back.

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