“Inside IU Basketball with Archie Miller” returned Monday night with Archie Miller and De’Ron Davis spending a combined hour with host Don Fischer to discuss the last week in Indiana basketball, which included an impressive home win over Iowa and a blowout road loss at Michigan.
Here are the highlights from Miller and Davis’ evening with Fischer:
– Fischer described the past week as a “roller coaster” for Indiana. Miller said Indiana was the aggressor from the start against Iowa and had multiple people contribute, including Devonte Green, helping build an early lead that Indiana was able to maintain for the rest of the game despite Luka Garza’s 38 points for the Hawkeyes. Miller said the stat sheet for Indiana reflected an aggressive team against Iowa, one that won the rebounding battle and earned trips to the free-throw line.
– Looking at the Michigan game, Miller said his team was much less aggressive, especially defensively. Miller said Sunday was one of Indiana’s best road efforts in terms of not shooting themselves in the foot (he cited Indiana’s low turnover number and effective offensive play), but admitted that Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske and Isaiah Livers carved up Indiana at every opportunity. Miller said some of Indiana’s poor defense could be attributed to a lack of effort, but other moments came from good offense by the Wolverines.
– Looking deeper into the Michigan game, Miller said that Michigan “paralyzes” the help defense of opponents because of how smart Simpson is with the ball and his ability to distribute it. “We needed more eyes on the ball,” Miller said of his team’s defensive lapses, which also included being unable to stop Michigan off the dribble.
– Despite Indiana being in a perilous situation with regard to the NCAA tournament, Miller said that it’s not as much about the wins and losses with Indiana as it is about evaluating how the team is playing and keeping the big picture in mind. Then, Miller said the most important thing in that big picture is to win games.
– When asked by Fischer if it’s frustrating to still be coaching effort from his players so late in the season, Miller said it is. “Some of our effort-related stuff comes with mental,” Miller said. “It comes with young guys, it comes with guys who traditionally don’t handle adversity maybe as well.” Miller also described this Indiana team as “unique” because it doesn’t have a good “response attitude” when things get difficult on the road.
– Speaking about his two senior players, Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis, Miller said it was good to see them rise to the occasion this week. Miller said that despite frequent public criticism of Green’s inconsistent play, he remains a major part of most of Indiana’s big wins. He called Green a “difference maker” for the Hoosiers, and said Green has a few more special performances in his back pocket following his 27-point outing against Iowa.
– With regard to Davis, Miller said Davis didn’t only play well against Michigan, against whom Davis went 9-9 from the field and scored 18 points, but also against Iowa during Thursday’s win. Miller gave Davis credit for his play at both ends of the court, and Miller credited both seniors with playing well as their college careers draw to a close.
– Looking ahead, Miller also helped preview both of Indiana’s upcoming games this week at Minnesota on Wednesday night and at home against Penn State on Sunday afternoon.
– When discussing the Minnesota game, Miller said the Golden Gophers have played as difficult a schedule as anybody else in the country. He cited Minnesota’s series sweep over Ohio State, as well as home wins over Michigan and Wisconsin, as evidence of how good a team they can be. Miller called Minnesota’s Marcus Carr a top-two or top-three point guard in the Big Ten. Miller also said Golden Gopher big man Daniel Oturu may be the most improved player in college basketball and Gabe Kalscheur is one of the best 3-point shooters in the Big Ten.
– Miller also explained Minnesota often plays two bigs and three guards during games, differing them from Iowa and Michigan. Miller said there will be more post play involved from the Golden Gophers, which should test Indiana’s frontcourt rotation defensively.
– Miller said “I wish we could play tomorrow” in reference to the Minnesota game, reflecting the eagerness he has to eliminate the bad taste lingering from the Michigan loss. He also pointed to getting Trayce Jackson-Davis “rolling” early on as a key factor to Indiana’s success inside ‘The Barn.’ “It’s not up to him at this point, it’s up to us to get him going,” Miller said of Jackson-Davis.
– In response to an audience question about wanting Rob Phinisee to be more aggressive shooting perimeter shots, Miller said Phinisee has recently been aggressive shooting inside-out and catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. “He’s starting to have a bit more pride coming off of ball screens, getting into the paint,” Miller said about the evolution of Phinisee’s offensive game.
– In response to an audience question about what next year’s non-conference schedule will look like for Indiana, Miller said it will probably be the most difficult non-conference schedule he’s ever played. He cited the Maui Invitational (against the likes of Alabama, Davidson, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV), the 20-game Big Ten Conference schedule, the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the Gavitt Games and the Crossroads Classic game against Butler as some of the games comprising the difficult non-conference slate. Miller also said Indiana is looking to start some home-and-away series against “big-time” opponents since Indiana’s home-and-away series with Arkansas ended this season. This will result in 25 to 26 straight ‘Power 5’ games for Indiana next season, according to Miller.
– During De’Ron Davis’ segment, he said his other three seasons at Indiana have all seen the team start out on a high before finishing the season on a low, but this Indiana season is different due to the togetherness of the team and the experience the team has with this coaching staff. “We just have to play a lot harder and stick together,” Davis said.
– Davis recounted his injury history with Fischer, from the torn Achilles’ suffered during his sophomore season to the ankle injury against Illinois that also set him back. Davis then explained his offseason adjustments to be able to remain healthy throughout his senior season, which included becoming a pescatarian. “So I ate a lot of fish, vegetables, a lot of fruits and nuts.”
– For anyone concerned, De’Ron Davis has a cheat day from his new diet on Fridays. He usually cheats with a candy, like gummies, or a non-fish protein like red meat or chicken.
– As for his career post-Indiana, Davis said the plan is to take part in some offseason workouts and, if nothing is available at the professional level in the U.S., to go play overseas and try and use that to return to the United States. After basketball, Davis says he wants to work with kids and has hopes of using his recreational sports management degree to open up a couple recreation centers.