home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 22, 2020

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

ARCHIE MILLER: Well, obviously gearing up for another week here, we're back at home and Thursday night's opponent, Michigan State, in typical fashion's having an excellent year. They have the premier point guard in college basketball and have a lot of different players now playing in the game. They're deeper than they have been in the past and they have a lot of different guys stepping up and doing a great job within their role. And right now them being at the top of the conference isn't surprising, but I think they continue to keep getting better and they're a team that has championship aspirations and having some time before they come in here I'm sure they will be prepared and ready. But for our guys it's another opportunity at home in the Big-10 against a great opponent. And hopefully the environment is electric and we compete because that's what it's going to come down to in terms of our effort level. You're not going to be perfect against this team, but you're going to have to control what you can. And it really comes down with your physicality and finding a way to win balls on the rebounding battle and finding a way to slow them down the best you can, although it's difficult and you're going to have to defend like crazy. But offensively is another story as well. They're one of the best defensive teams in the country. It's impossible around the rim to get easy baskets with their physicality and they've got great size right now on the perimeter, defending with length. So it presents a lot of challenges, but like every time you play them you know when you're getting and it's a great team and they're having a great season and we're looking forward to obviously get the week started here. Once you get into conference play and the season goes, you kind of want to be playing games, you don't want to be waiting a long time to play them.

Q. You mentioned on your radio show how you guys went from being a bad defensive team to a good, an average defensive team. Now you're getting better as recently as Maryland, but is that something where it's kind of a game or a moment that sparks you guys or is it more gradual? And then how do you know as a coach when you're team's kind of gaining traction on defense?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, yeah, we have grown up. I think part of it is inexperience with youth and inexperience with just new players in the game. So we have a lot of newness early. And we struggled, I thought, defensively early in the season with our on-ball defense and our inability to keep our defense tight and be where we're supposed to be. We have gotten better as the month has gone on. And once you get into conference play you have to find a way to keep tweaking and getting better at what you're doing because in this league if you can't defend you're not going to really have a chance on a night-in night-out basis. We have gotten better, gradually, I think week-to-week, which is important. It's not game-to-game thing. It's week-to-week thing that we continue to improve in certain areas. And I think here in the last week and a half or whatnot we have shown some signs of getting some carryover. But we still have to keep going. Our physicality's got to get better around the basket, our on-ball defense has to continue to get better and our communication, especially in transition, can still climb the ladder so to speak in terms of coming from the bottom to the top. So we got a lot of room to improve continued defensively. But some guys have a little bit more experience now with game reps and whatnot, so I think part of it just getting some more experience out there, being more connected. Defense is about being connected and knowing what you're supposed to do and doing it the best of your abilities. When you play 11 guys through the course of the season, you have some breakdowns in there with new players and inexperienced rosters and chemistry or whatnot. But we're moving past that now. We're heading towards February and here late in January, hopefully we can continue that gradual climb.

Q. I know in the off-season you talked about protecting the home court. How much do you think your players have kind of taken that to heart and how critical is that going to be between now and March?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, it's critical, especially in our league. Our league being what it is right now, how difficult it is to go on the road, you good shot to find a way to win home games. That's not easy as well. It's really not. But we have one of the best home courts in college basketball. I think this is the first game back, maybe students are back, maybe our Ohio State game students were back and they make a big, big difference. Our students change the complexion of the energy level in our arena and we're going to need it in every game moving forward, because I think that every game is so valuable. But yeah, without question, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, when it's ready and our players are giving them something to be ready about, it's a great place to obviously compete.

Q. You talked about the inexperience of this group. As you now get into the business end of conference play and whether you want them thinking about it or not obviously the idea of building a whole season resume kind of looms. How do you see this team approaching weeks like this where you've got two big games, you're at home, and you have these opportunities?
ARCHIE MILLER: Make it as minimal as possible in their minds. There's nothing really that important. And once we started conference play and as we have moved through it we treated each game as a singular season. Each day is the most important thing that you can go through. You can't do anything about anything other than today. Working with our players, continuing to try to teach them, continuing to try to build their confidence with repetitions, and making sure that we're giving valuable feedback on good and bad and getting better, and I think that's what you have to focus it on. The season is too long and there's too many highs and lows that come with winning and losing to just start getting caught up in like what is this all about come the end of the season. It's about, honestly, quite frankly, can we have a really good day today? If you do that, you set yourself up to hopefully challenge your team to have a good day tomorrow when you really need it the most. And then when the game is over, you have to have short-term memory on everything you do, win or loss. There can't be a real high and low. You have to really focus in and treat each day the same. And as you move into a quick turnaround on Sunday playing another great team, are you ready mentally, did you improve, did you learn, are you focused. And the weeks seem to go a little faster that way. I think as you dwell on the big picture and you start to think about things that are out of your control, to me, you just get distracted. So we have kept it very, very single-minded approach, and each day is sort of our opportunity to win the day, and as you get ready to play that game that's what matters. When it's over, digest it, move on.

Q. The last couple games the offense seemed to have refined itself, better shot selection, and getting there. Are players finding their roles a little bit more? Is there anything that's led to that specifically?
ARCHIE MILLER: Just trying to improve. Teams are giving you certain things as players, as statistics and scouting reports go through, and you have to adjust to what the defenses are giving you. You can't be stubborn and just try to play your way. You have to play a certain way to be successful. And for us our team has to be successful on offense, number one, sharing the ball. There's a lot different ways you share it. We have gotten better at sharing the ball. Guys have a conscious approach right now to pass more than they do to shoot, and I think that's a good thing. I think that carried over in our Ohio State game. We had a little bit of a setback in the Rutgers game, although we missed some good shots off of good looks and good passes. And then as we moved in the Nebraska game, I think we continued to share the ball again a little bit better. And we're seeing the value of the quality of the shot. Part of the other thing is you got to be ready to attack, you got to be ready to play. And so many times I think we have reluctant players ready to be ready on the catch to make the play, the correct play. I think we have some guys now that are doing a much better job of seeing the game in a different way and understanding that when I do this, I got to be able to deliver the ball where it's got to be delivered. And our front court players have to continue to do a good job of getting catches, early catches, deep catches, and good things happen when we play inside out. The quality of the shot and the confidence in the shot that you get sometimes just has to do with the fluidness of guys moving it and moving it when they're supposed to move it. I thought we had some good value to that coming in against Nebraska.

We also have some guys, in my opinion, every guy that has to play with a little chip, a little edge, on their shoulder in terms of, I'm better than this, they're not going to give me this shot, or I'm going to be ready the next time I get this look. I think we have had some guys kind of take it personal a little bit that, you know what, if I get this look in the game, I'm not going to be the guy that's not ready to shoot it.

Q. You brought up the rebounding a little bit earlier. Michigan State, usually one of best rebounding teams in the country. You guys have actually outrebounded them three out of your four games since you've been in Bloomington. What's led to that success on the glass against them and how can that be replicated tomorrow night?
ARCHIE MILLER: You have to have the utmost respect into Michigan State's program. And Michigan State's sustained success has really correlated to the rebounding game. That's part of the game within the game when you play them. Maybe by chance, maybe just by, here recently we have had some success, but like if you don't rebound, the game is over when you play them right way. So you have to understand sort of the rules of the game. When you play Michigan State, in my opinion, it starts on the glass and then it moves into transition. They're great on the glass, they're great in transition, and if you can't handle those two things, you're going to get beat, and in some ways you're going to get beat pretty good because they're bringing it every single game, that's what they do, that's who they are, and that's why they're successful.

For our guys, I think this team, especially this year, has had to have a rebounding mentality. We have a bigger team and it's got to be important to us as well and that will be a huge deal in the game is can you hang in on the glass on both ends of the floor. I don't think they're going to give us much. But you can't allow those guys to get what they want as well. And they're bigger at the perimeter right now, especially when they have Brown and Henry in the game. Those two guys have great size and length and physicality on the boards. So our perimeter guys have their work really cut out for them and I don't think our perimeter guys have really answered the bell the way that we have needed them to so far this season on the glass, whether that's just being able to be physical and block out and keep your guy off or being able to go get some clean ones on your own. But that's a huge part to this game, if not as big as anything that you do when you play every game, but Michigan State in particular really hammers you on the boards.

Q. It's kind of about the offense, but specifically about guys like Joey and Trayce. A game like Nebraska, it felt like was one where you kind of persisted with the big lineups even they though they were small and it paid off. Do you see this team kind of embracing how to make the most out of playing big, I guess, even when teams try to present them with mismatches, whether it's on the boards, protecting the rim, defensively, those kinds of things, more than, I guess, a couple months ago?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, the old adage, There's different ways to skin a cat. And I think teams have played small a lot of the season against us where we have had to defend with bigger guys on the floor and sometimes that's difficult and you give some things up from the three-point line or you give some things up in transition where it's a little bit harder. But hopefully, you play the game the other way where you're drawing fouls and you're offensive rebounding and you're doing some things that hurts the size on the other end. So you got win your battle, you got to be good at what you do, you can't really worry about them, are you doing what you do well. I thought the Nebraska game, in particular, our guys really did a much better job, though, of being keenly aware of what they were trying to do, their spacing, the three-point line, transition defense, guarding the ball, way better than we did at Rutgers on that Wednesday night against Ron Harper and Yeboah and those guys. We were much better. I thought Trayce in particular really did a nice job. Probably his best 30-plus minutes, maybe last couple minutes of the game he had some lapses, but him in particular, it's the best he's covered the line and covered a perimeter player for the course of a game on defense.

But you're going to be presented with a lot of challenges. Michigan State's two big guys are big, but they also can step out and shoot the ball a little bit. You're going to see different types of styles and that's why the game is so important for you to be good at what you do. And at times our most productive players in games are our bigger guys. So we have to find a way to keep them on the floor as long as possible when those games are going that way. We can also play a little smaller with Jerome and Damezi and Justin and maybe play a little bit more of a wing lineup. And at times maybe that's going to give us the best chance with one big guy. But for us playing against the smaller teams and the three-point line, it's definitely a concern. But if you're not winning your battle, like on Wednesday, if you're not getting free throws, paint touches, offensive rebounds, and you're getting dinged with a smaller lineup, that's not going to work. So we got to play the game the way it's played and sometimes different lineups have success, game in and game out, but as you come into this one, this is the one that you're looking at the most, our front court's going to have to step up and play a true, in my opinion, a front court game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297