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March 4, 2020

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana 72, Minnesota 67

ARCHIE MILLER: Proud of our guys. At this time of year you want short-term memory loss, so to speak. Although last week was a hard week, there were some positives. We were able to continue to keep with the positives.

At home we were able to hold serve here the first part of the week. Did a really good job and had a lot of guys step up and play well.

I thought the whole key to the game was Joey Brunk. His impact on the game on both ends of the floor, him being able to play as many minutes as he did was huge. Finally got it going on offense a little bit, but rebounded as well.

Big key to our team is trying to find him, getting him back into rhythm where he's playing longer stretches. Our guard play was pretty good, in particular taking care of it. I thought we did a really good job with what we tried to do with Marcus Carr tonight. He is so good downhill. He is so strong. We wanted to keep him lateral.

We gave up some threes and some rolls. At the end of the day we wanted to keep him out of the paint, and that was the goal. I think for the most part our team really executed that part of it.

I was proud of our guys in a grind-it-out game. Minnesota is tough. They have some serious shooting. When they're hot, they can really play. Obviously Daniel Oturu, if Luka Garza is not in our league this year, he's probably the Player of the Year in the conference.

Tough team to play against. Fortunate to beat them twice. For us to be 19-11, 9-10 with one to go in this league, I think we're continuing to trend in the right way.

Q. You've taken some questions about your starting five. Tonight all five of them were in double figures.
ARCHIE MILLER: Did you say I was taking questions about my starting five?

Q. People have asked questions about the last couple weeks.
ARCHIE MILLER: To you? They were asking you or me?

Q. I've heard questions.
ARCHIE MILLER: Okay, so they're talking to you.

Q. Correct.
ARCHIE MILLER: I haven't heard very many.

Q. I heard a question on the radio earlier in the week.

Q. The bottom line is...
ARCHIE MILLER: The bottom line is here is the deal. You're in March. If you change your starting lineup, you change your starting lineup with a specific reason or a specific adjustment.

I'll tell you this much, the minute you change, you lose guys. There's no reason to do that. Part of it is I think what Joey did tonight, you hang in there, hang in there. It's not easy to play well every night, but it's easy to play hard every night. I think Joe played extremely hard tonight.

I also think Trayce, we weren't sure if Trayce was going to play tonight, he's a little banged up. Had guys ready to roll on that one.

In general, if we would change it, it would be out of a movement of strength not out of a movement of weakness. I can't stress that enough. If we make a change at halftime, it's a movement of strength, not weakness.

We've been doing it all year by committee. It's not like our starters always play well or this guy and that guy play well. We have games where Devonte is coming off the bench, he's killing people.

Tonight I really thought Rob and Al played a solid game. Devonte did as well, especially with his assists. I'm pleased with our group. I was really, really happy for Joey to kind of get going offensively again. We need that. We need that.

Q. Maybe over the last month Joey has struggled. What's been behind that? What did you see that was different tonight?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think the big deal with Joey, he's a thinker. He cares a lot about doing well. But I think he overthinks it sometimes. When Joe is at his best, he's running as hard as he can and his motor is great on both ends of the floor in terms of trying to rebound.

He has great touch around the basket. I think recently he started to worry a little bit too much about making it rather than getting a good shot. He's nervous that it's not going to go in. Once he got a couple to go down, I think he settled in, you started to see him a little bit more powerful around the rim.

They also switched Oturu off of him to go to Trayce because Trayce was obviously going a little bit. Joe was able to take advantage of the other guy. I think that's a 1-2 punch with De'Ron and Race and Trayce. Hopefully you can get two of those four guys going around the basket a little bit.

It's all confidence. But I think Joe cares a lot and he overthinks it a little bit. I think tonight he just started to really play hard defensively. I think that was a big key in him being engaged in the game. Typically when you're worried about that, other things sort of go your way which I think happened for him.

Q. You mentioned Oturu, how talented he is. 11 for 27 tonight. Joey guarded him a good part of the time. What did he do to frustrate him at times?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, coming out of Illinois, the one thing that we've done a poor job of as a staff and getting our players to respond to it is things around the basket are too easy. Whether it's a one-on-one post-up, a one-on-one drive, whether it's a guard going in there, we're giving up too many one-legged little layups. Where is the help?

I know when our guard goes in there, that thing comes flying off the backboard or somebody is on the ground. We haven't been making those plays.

I thought was Joe did tonight is he tried like crazy to stay between him and the rim. We got other guys to help a little bit. There was a lot of challenged balls around the basket tonight. Maybe there was a lot of contact at times, but this is the Big Ten. If there's no contact, there's something wrong.

I thought Joe did a good job of not fouling, the best job of playing as hard as he possibly could. We were able to bother some things in and around the basket at times on his drives. That's what we were looking for. Keep Trayce out of a little bit of foul trouble, see if we can hang in there.

Joe has been fouling a little bit too much. I thought he played really, really hard at the start of the game. If you watched him impact ball screens, gave him a chance to be engaged. We were fine with that kind of matchup. He's a good player, man. He's a really tough guard. When you talk about how quick he is off his first step, he has one of the longest first dribbles out from 22 feet for a big kid. He rips in, boom, he's gone. He's hard to guard for anybody. 24 and 16, did shoot 27 times.

I thought he did a better job kicking our butts on the offensive glass than anything tonight. He was just quicker to balls. He was hungry to get the 50/50 long ones off of other misses.

Joe hung in there pretty good tonight. He didn't foul.

Q. Some of this is Joey and Trayce. 52 points in the paint, reflective of an aggressiveness that you want these guys to embrace?
ARCHIE MILLER: We're doing a little better job being aggressive, especially in our last two games. We were able to get some buckets tonight in and around the basket, which was a good start.

Minnesota is primarily a one-on-one in the post type team. So you can get in there a little bit. I thought Justin did a good job in and around the basket, getting a couple. Joey, Trayce. Race had a few in and around the basket. Didn't finish as much.

But Rob broke it down a few times, got a couple one-legged layups. Devonte. Al was in the paint a bunch. It's an aggressive style when you're attacking the paint. Nine for 17 from the line, that's not good. We want to get to the line. That's been a recipe for our team. It's inside-out, attack the paint, offensive rebound, get the foul.

We didn't shoot the three particularly well over the course of the game as it went on. We made some timely ones. For us, we were able to get what we normally get when our guys are playing pretty good, which is a lot of paint touches.

Q. You mentioned Trayce not being sure whether or not he was going to play. What does it say for the maturity of this kid?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think he's been playing with a sore foot. I just don't think he probably knows when he got it, when it happened. He's done every test known to man. He's fine.

It's a pain tolerance right now. He is not going to get a lot of rest. We were going to test him out in the first four minutes, kind of see what he was up to. Looked like he was up to being all right. We rode him out. Asked him throughout the course of the game if he was okay. He said he was good.

Played well. Did a good job for us most of the time. Have to get him more engaged. Saturday is going to be a big challenge for all of our front court players with how Wisconsin plays. We had no answer for them way, way back. But we're going to have to be a lot better engaged defensively on Saturday.

Even in this game, they were able to pick on our bigs and drives, especially in the first half some threes. Young freshman is a really good player, No. 35. Guy can really shoot the ball. It caused some problems. It's going to happen on Saturday, as well.

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