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November 30, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 64, South Dakota State - 50

ARCHIE MILLER: Good win for our team. South Dakota State, have a lot of respect for them. They have played a lot of tough places already this season. Douglas Wilson coming in and watching him and Brandon Key, in particular, we were really concerned. And looking at the stat sheet I thought our team did a really nice job against their best two guys of holding that down and really the difference in the game. Our rebounding, obviously from an offensive perspective, Trayce and Justin did a great job. Trayce in particular was very dominant on the glass and we were able to make enough plays to hold a lead. But without question, there's just a little bit of that funny feeling that we're not playing as well as we need to, we're not as sharp as we need to and we got to take care of the ball a little bit better.

But we finished November and we put this one to bed and, obviously, from this point forward things get a lot more difficult for us and it starts on Tuesday, and our preparation for Florida State will begin now, and it should be a great opportunity to play against a terrific ACC team. Depth and size at the highest level.

So but it's a good group. Our team's got to keep getting better. And I think as we continue to evolve here, I think you're starting to see a lot of different guys contribute, which I'm happy about, but I think we can still make a big, big jump. And as we can get some more guys in the game to play more minutes, I think that's going to be very, very important.

Q. You talked after the Louisiana Tech game about wanting to see longer possessions for the offenses going against your defense and I think you had two shot clock violations in the first half here --
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, we were better tonight defensively, in particular we didn't get it spread out, and we were a little better defensively in transition at times. South Dakota State completely took the air out of the ball. When you put five guys in the paint on defense you're going to make some shots. We made enough. Our percentages weren't terrible at halftime, but clearly when you're 15 feet off your man at five positions, you're basically saying, hey, look, we're just going to let these guys shoot and hopefully they miss. And for, we have to be able to grind it away a little bit. We have to figure out those grinder games and be able to play without turning it over and get some quality possessions.

I thought the free-throw line was a bugaboo tonight. I thought we had four pair or at least three pair. You can pretty much equate those to turnovers. When you go to the line and have you a pair and you miss two, that's an empty possession. So I think we had three or four of those, which was a little uncharacteristic for us tonight, which kept that lead right around where it was instead of 15, 16, 17.

And then on the other end of the floor, for us, I thought they methodically ran their offense. They tried to get good looks. But for our guys I thought we did a nice job of taking away the easy ones. We didn't get to spread out. We didn't give as much of a pick and roll game up. We still got to do a better job guarding the ball. And for a big team we don't play big around the rim. There's not enough shot blocking, there's not enough hard plays at the basket, but that's getting ready to really change as we get ready to keep move forward here on, especially on Tuesday with the amount of size, talent, and athleticism that's going to come our way. But better defensively. From a percentage standpoint, we were clearly better there.

Q. Trayce with another double double. What does he allow you to do differently maybe than you were able to do in the past just with his quickness and athleticism, everything that he brings to the floor?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well he's just a natural. He's got great hands and length. He's a spring off the boards in terms of being able to go get the ball. He's getting balls that other guys can't get. So that's, obviously, a gift that he brings to the table. But he continues to do that for you us, which is important. Rebounding the ball is a huge deal for this team. Nine offensive rebounds is something else. But 19 and 14 is obviously a big deal.

Justin was good on the offensive glass with his effort, but I didn't see the amount of the onslaught that we've seen in different games. And maybe it was just our rotation didn't allow for different guys to get in there. But we didn't have as many guys impacting the boards as I would like and that's got to change. We got to continue to find ways to impact the game on the glass. Teams aren't going to obviously let us just run out and get going, so the second shots is a big part of what we're doing. But Trayce was dominant on the glass tonight. He went up and got five, six balls that nobody else can get. And in and around the basket, continuing to find different ways for him to be effective is a big deal.

Q. You just mentioned the fact that it's going to get a lot more difficult after this. At this point what do you feel good about going into the stretch? What do you feel best about going into the stretch where you're going to play all high majors going forward? And what are you most concerned about?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well I continue to be concerned about our defense. I think at the end of the day our lack of depth at guard is really going to get exposed as we start to play the talent level and the guards on the other team. Hopefully we can get Robert back at some point in time. That's undecided right now. But Armaan and Al and Devonte, being our guard tandem right now have got to continue to do a great job of being better on the ball.

From an off-the-ball defensive prospective in defending the post, we are going to have to continue to use our depth and to use our team approach in determines of defending the paint and get better there defensively. My biggest concern going into some of these games is taking care of the ball. Our guard play here in the last couple games in terms of taking care of it hasn't been very good. And I just think some of the other guys just dropping balls or not catching them or missing point blank layups, we got to be better than that in the simple plays. But offensively, if we're out of transition, we're not getting our break going, teams are going to take you out of that and make you play in the half court. Can we run efficient offense without turning the ball over? Because if we do, I think we can get to the foul line and I think that we have a lot of different players that can impact it. But if we turn it over 19 times, eight at the half, 11 more in the second half, that's a recipe for disaster. And Florida State is going to turn you over like crazy on Tuesday night. Their size, their switching, their length at the basket, it's going to be impossible just to get 2-point baskets. You're not going to have that. So our guards got to take care of it, our team has to be better offensively to take care of the ball when we get into a half court setting. If we get into transition, obviously, I think that's where we're at our best, but that's not going to be the case. We have to be able to run good offense, get quality shots, and at the end of the day we have to be a team that doesn't turn it over very many times. And these last three halfs; second half against our last opponent, and then moving into these last two halfs, if you look at the turnovers, it's just destroyed our offense. We really haven't taken care of the ball very well. So that's a big part of it is just taking care of the ball against good teams.

Q. You have all high majors going forward. Can you not have games where your two starting guards both didn't score a whole lot. Does that change when you're starting to face bigger teams now?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, college basketball comes down to, obviously, your depth, but it comes down to guard play, we have always said that. And Al and Devonte tonight -- Al didn't shoot as it as much, I thought Al did a really nice job defensively, a big deal coming in the game was Brandon Key and his ability to make guys better. And he had six turnovers in the game and he was 1-6. Al had a big role in that. Devonte isn't, to me, wasn't feeling as well as he had in the past, you could tell that I didn't think he had his quickness as much, we're going to need him, but Al and Devonte in particular those guys are going to have to do a lot for us we know that. Armaan has got to get his confidence back, right now he's not playing with a whole lot of confidence shooting the ball, which, that's not a big deal, that comes and goes with young guys, it will come. And if we get Rob back here eventually it adds another guy where those guys aren't playing as many minutes. But we got to get Damezi and Jerome in there a little bit as much, as more. Part of their struggles offensively or part of their lack of scoring is they're just not playing enough minutes. Today they got more minutes, but as we play bigger teams, better teams those two guys got to continue to get in there.

Q. Second half you used the word "if" connected to Rob Phinisee's return. I guess is --
ARCHIE MILLER: I have no idea when he's going to.

Q. Is medical on the table? Is a medical redshirt on the table at this point?

Q. Is that something being discussed?
ARCHIE MILLER: No. He's day-to-day with what we're doing, but I don't have a return date or when he's coming back to practice. He's kind of 50/50 on contact, non-contact. And but, no, there's no redshirt on the table right now.

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