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March 7, 2020

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Wisconsin 60, Indiana 56

ARCHIE MILLER: Congratulations to Wisconsin. Hard fought win. Made a lot of tough plays there at the end of the game to be able to come through, and that's what it was going to take in this one, a couple baskets here and there, a couple offensive rebounds, you know, to be able to pull away.

But they did a great job of being able to claw and hang, and then I thought that their front court really finished us off. You know, they got us on the offensive boards when we switched into clock situations to take away the three, and they were able to convert on a couple big, you know, jump hooks, two points, in and around the basket and made some timely plays.

But we played hard. We competed and we were right there. We played well enough to win for the most part defensively.

But offensively, just things around the basket were really hard for us. If you look at our two-point field goals in the game, you take away the 15, 16, what were we, 14-for-42 from the floor, from the two, is that right? 43? 14-from-43 from two-point range. That's not going to get it done.

You know, if you just look at our lines, you know, Thompson, 1-for-5, Bronco for 2. Trayce was 2-for-8, Justin 3-for-7. Not a lot of those guys were taking a lot of threes. So things around the basket were made difficult by their size, their bigs dropping. You have to make some jumpshots against them, which Devonte did early in the game and then I think he tweaked an ankle or something because he definitely did not move the rest of the game. Didn't look right.

But we had our chances. I thought Race came in and gave us a great boost on the offensive glass. And Rob had seven assists, zero turnovers and I thought Al did a pretty good job.

It's just a really hard-fought game that's going to come down to a few plays that you're going to look back on and wish you had back, but in a game of inches, you have to make those winning ones, and Wisconsin did.

Q. That last seven, eight minutes, you went 12 shots kin a row without scoring but seven of them were in the paint. Were you getting shots that you wanted or was it just not happening?
ARCHIE MILLER: You know, without watching it, I can't say, but I think we got some good shots. We got some two-point baskets that didn't go in. You know, whether it was jump-hooks, drivers, offensive rebounds, you name it, but they are big, man. They played two big guys a lot of the game. Size around the basket was a problem for us. I didn't think our guards got anything at the rim that was very easy. But you know, we played with seven turnovers.

The one thing that really, really stands out to me was with about eight minutes to go, maybe even ten, we almost had them doubled up on the glass. The rebounding was about 30-something to 20-something, and it finished 38-34.

And to me the rebounding really, really started to change with about eight minutes to go. Long rebounds, two or three of them led to five, six points, and then a couple back-breaking tap-ins in the last two minutes, when we switched to take away the pick-and-pop, their big rolled us down and their other big came in, however it worked when we rotated when the guard drives. Not being able to carve out and keep those guys off the glass was a big part of the game. They were able to take advantage of that at the end.

Q. Going to ask about the struggles inside.
ARCHIE MILLER: I mean, I don't know what you guys want me to tell you inside. There's no magic wand to score on 6-10 or 6-11. You have to score the ball a couple times.

I thought Race Thompson in the second half played with unbelievable authority and he got it in. Everything else, for us, was a little bit soft around the rim.

I didn't think they played soft around the rim. I thought they were able to pound us and be able to take their dribbles when they can and shoot jumpshots and go in. It wasn't as if everything was just a missed wide open layup. You're talking about -- that's the way Wisconsin has won eight in a row. They make threes. They got a difficult style to play against and defensively, they keep their bigs back and they make things hard. You gotta to shoot in between the big and the rim, and that's why for about 20 years, they have been pretty good. They have got unbelievable size and skill.

They play hard. I can't say our guys didn't play hard and I can't say that we didn't get some good looks. Just at times that we needed to be able to convert, we didn't. Especially I thought the last two minutes.

Last two minutes when we actually got some stops and the ball was coming back down, we had some easy ones that didn't go in. Race dip-dunk didn't go in. Devonte had a runner right in front of the rim; didn't go in.

We just couldn't convert. Inside the paint, the percentage is what it is. We didn't finish.

Q. Looking at games in the second half where you had leads late, do you see any defining characteristics about why it goes away late and you aren't able to come out with the wins?
ARCHIE MILLER: Each game is different. Our team right now is a lot different than in those games.

In this game, I thought Wisconsin earned the win. Did a good job of being able to get some stops. We weren't able to convert and on the other end of the floor, we got stops, and the end of the day, they beat us to some loose balls and long rebounds.

Then you know, the last couple minutes, not being able to get the one-time rebound when we actually get a stop. You know, when you switch ball screens with them at the end of the clock, you have to keep it front, and when you don't you have to find a way to keep them off the boards.

This game is irrelevant compared to any other game. This game was played by two teams at the end of the season that competed really hard, and you know, like I said, Wisconsin made the plays they needed to do to win it.

Q. Archie, so none of us know like the bubble, what it looks like or who is going to get in, and you don't know, either, but you sounded confident on the court. What do you think?
ARCHIE MILLER: If you watch Sesame Street and you listen to all the characters on Sesame Street talk and everyone gets all under, uh-uh-uh -- it's like when you watch Sesame Street and you listen to the guys on Sesame Street, it's a children's show. Every bracketology is a children's show.

Bottom line, what our resumé is, it's strength of record, and that's undeniable it's a Top-25 strength of record. If you don't put in a Top-25 strength of record team with the wins that we have, you know, somebody is going to have to answer some questions.

You know, maybe we didn't win on the road. All right. There's about 15 teams that didn't do that. Well, maybe they didn't beat enough that -- well, there's some teams that have maybe of half the amount of quad one and two games that we had.

And when you look at our wins, I think we had three wins against the top ten in the quad. 2-seed Florida State, you beat this team.

Since December 3rd, we have not played one team that's not a high major team. No one's done it. But when you start to go through the bracketology and you listen to the Sesame Street carton guys on TV who need people to click and do all this stuff, the bottom line is strength of record: Who did you play, what did you beat.

If you look at our wins, there's very few teams in the country that can say they have beaten the Florida States, Michigan States, Iowas, the Penn States, who are clearly in the field. So if you are beating six, seven teams in the field, you should be in the field.

Everyone is going to say, you don't have a .500 record in the league. They have already stated that a .500 record in the league, doesn't matter. It's your body of work. Because there's certain teams that played the 330th nonconference strength of schedule, which we didn't do.

So if you add it all up, we scheduled to make the tournament. We got a lot of good wins. Played in an unprecedented season in the Big Ten in terms of the depth, and when you have that many teams competing for the tournament, 12, most of the year, and you beat each other up, my hope is that they just don't take it for granted how hard it is to win in the league.

I think today was our 24th or 25th straight power five game. I mean, who does that. You know, we did. Everyone wanted to bust our chops to start the season on our non-conference schedule. It worked out. Princeton is going to be in the Final Four -- the old conference (ph) USA's champion, or at least has a chance, is Louisiana Tech. South Dakota State won their league. End up playing UCONN and Notre Dame, but some of those games are a crapshoot sometimes. Both teams have had pretty good years. I mean, beat them away from home. In league play, it is what it is. Who did you play; who did you beat.

So when I look at the stuff that really matters, the net is considerably different than any other number that stacks us, and that's because the net now goes into margins.

So they don't really care if you win a great game on the road by one or did you beat a really good team on the road by four. Now there's some efficiency and things that go into the mini-margin of the game and some efficiencies that go into the net that don't add up, you look at KPI, BPI, Sagarin, you look at all of the metrics, Ken Palm and the top 35, strength of schedule is like 14 on all of them, who did you play, who did you beat. At the end of the day, our record is like 26 comes into the game.

If you have a strength of record of Top-25, you had a good schedule and you beat good teams, you should be in the tournament.

I don't know if that answered it. It was a lot, but I needed to get something out.

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