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December 28, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Q. Second straight kind of eight-day stretch without a game here. You've talked about working yourselves as much as opponents. Just what do you think guys have gotten out of this maybe physically, and also, with the ability to get home for a little while, mentally?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think the big thing is we were coming off finals week leading into Notre Dame, so it's always a mentally, really challenging week. To be able to come through and win that game, obviously, you get a breath of fresh air and sort of a deep breath when you go home to feel good about yourself. Our guys had a nice break. We came back ready to go. And we have had good workouts. But we have, we spent some time on ourselves. And this is a time before you get ready to hit conference play where you don't want to stand still. It can be hard and difficult as you're practicing, especially when you get into a groove of playing a lot of games in a row. But for us it's time to take care of ourselves, continue to work. And we got a really good opponent to play here on Sunday night to finish up non-conference. It's a great test and lead-in to what should be a very difficult stretch in the Big-10.

Q. As you get ready for Arkansas, I mean, what's the balance between kind of reminding these guys of what they know from last year and maybe trying to break them of what's -- of being too comfortable with what they know given that it's a different staff?
ARCHIE MILLER: There's no comfortable about anything. They're a really good team. Obviously, they're a brand new philosophy and they have some of the same players who played against us a year ago, so from a scouting standpoint you know the skill level. But they're playing very aggressively and playing a very small guard-oriented lineup. And Mason Jones, in particular, is just a matchup nightmare with Jimmy Whitt and Isaiah Joe and Sills and their complimentary guys in the backcourt, that it's very difficult to pick and choose who you match up with and what you're doing. They become very difficult to guard. They're prolific in transition.

But their defense really stands out. For being a quick team, a very fast team, they use it to their advantage to get in transition. They turn you over. They do great job of really crowding the floor in terms of not being able to feed the post. A lot of teams are turning the ball over, throwing it inside. You get into that maniac approach of feeding the post, their small they're doing this, and at the end of the day you play against yourself in terms of the way you turn it over, so we're going to have to be smart. But they're lethal in transition. And looking at our Nebraska game and how we played in a that game with that type of transition attack and their skill level, it's a very concerning game. So there's nothing to be real comfortable. This will be as difficult of a game as we have played all year.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is basically the most healthy you've been since the very start of camp and -- is that correct?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think all 11 scholarship players were available here of late. And all scholarship players have been available for practice here as we have finished up. So it's given us a chance to have the most depth that we have had.

Q. And with this downtime, have you seen guys just kind of mentally refresh or practices being a little more crisp because they are healthy and now a little bit rested?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, I think so. You're not as beat up and your practices aren't as long right now. Obviously, we're trying to emphasize the competition level and continue to earn your opportunities in the game and prepare yourself for the game. And you can is have slippage. As a player you can get comfortable. And I think teams that have great competition every day, that value their work, put pressure on each other to be ready to go and that prepares you for the game. So we're still trying to become that team that values what we do every day and we're trying to value the opportunity to compete and earn the opportunity to play. I mean, there's nothing set in stone with us. So as we get ready to head into this game against Arkansas, like I said, we're going to need to find a way to maybe play smaller than we have played and we're going to need to find a way to have our other lineups that have played traditional to be effective. We have to be on their offense and defense, we have to be effective with what they're going to do because they're not going to change much based on their personnel. So this is one of those games, we're going to have to be really ready to play with different combinations of players. And for the most part, I thought, even in the Notre Dame game when Notre Dame went small in the second half, it put some pressure on us. It put some pressure only our defense to be better, especially in transition. So there's a lot of concern, but also I think we have some adjustments we can make with our lineup.

Q. Talk about the unique challenge with their personnel. What do you, especially with freshman like Trayce Jackson Davis not having faced something like this, what can he do to stay in the game sort of and keep things rolling?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's got a lot of pressure on him. He's got -- he's had a lot of pressure on him to start the year, to be a good player for us, and we count on him. But we're looking for Trayce to take the next step. And part of the next step is, really, that attention to detail and coming ready to play against different types of styles and players that are going to give him problems. And this is a game that, quite frankly, he's going to have to be able to answer the bell inside and out. And we're going to have to find a way to maybe play four guards him around him at times in this game to give him a chance to play a little bit bigger, but we're going to have to play the most effective guys and Trayce is one of our most effective guys and he's got to keep growing and getting better and like I said, this is a huge step, teams can really make a jump here early in January, finding a way to dig out and find out big wins in early January is a confidence boost.

Q. Talk about Mason Jones, the matchup nightmare, what makes him that?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's a very, very crafty offense player, he's got great range, he's got good size for a forward, and he can put the ball on the floor. But he also isn't a guy that needs to have it to be effective. He moves without the ball well, he runs in transition well, they use him very effectively off the ball in space. He can also rebound the ball and go. So he's sort of one of those guys that's kind of like a jack of all trades, but from an offensive standpoint he can really, really take advantage of his matchups offensively because he can stretch the floor with the three so well, but he also can put the ball down. So he's a difficult player, he's really improved and their style's given him a chance to really be sort of a focal point.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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