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Head coach Archie Miller talks about his group’s missteps in Indiana University’s 69-90 males’s basketball loss to Indiana State University, Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.
Robert Scheer/IndyStar

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Archie Miller, head coach of Indiana males’s basketball group, throughout motion towards Indiana State University, Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.(Photo: Robert Scheer/IndyStar)Buy Photo

BLOOMINGTON – By halftime the Assembly Hall crowd was booing Indiana off the court docket. Midway by way of the second half, the Hoosiers trailing Indiana State by 30 factors, the gang was leaving early. With 1.2 seconds left, coach Archie Miller tried to affix them.

Indiana State was displaying mercy within the ultimate seconds, dribbling out its ultimate possession after bludgeoning the Hoosiers for 39-plus minutes, and the shot-clock buzzer sounded with 1.2 seconds left. Wanting this factor to be over, Miller slapped IU badistant Bruiser Flint on the knee, rose resignedly and walked towards the scorer’s desk. He wished to shake ISU coach Greg Lansing’s hand, after which he wished to get the hell off this court docket.

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But, no. A referee held up a hand to Miller. Hold it proper there, the referee was saying. Miller did as he was informed, and shortly sufficient the horn sounded once more, and eventually it was over. His first sport at IU was within the books, and it was a catastrophe: a 90-69 loss to an Indiana State group that was 11-20 final season.

Long after it was over, I used to be asking Miller if this long-awaited dream of an evening had change into a nightmare.

He laughed, and never as a result of it was humorous. I feel he was laughing as a result of part of him believed one thing like this – nicely not one thing as ugly as this, however definitely a loss to Indiana State – was inevitable. Miller knew he had a tender group on his palms, and that’s a phrase he used a number of occasions after the sport: tender. He knew he had a group devoid of firepower, a group that gained what it did a 12 months in the past with offensive superiority, then noticed its three most gifted scorers – James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant and O.G. Anunoby – go away early for the NBA draft. He knew he had a group nonetheless making an attempt to be taught his difficult, old-school defensive schemes.

And he knew Indiana State had perimeter shooters that had been going to check his tender group’s defensive deficiencies.

So, once more. I requested Miller if he’d been desirous about this sport, and if the end result was a nightmare. He laughed. Bitterly, I’d name his laughter.

“I’ve been thinking about this game since we took it on,” he mentioned of a sport that was scheduled in late July. “I feel Indiana State is a terrific program. Coach (Greg) Lansing does a superb job. Anytime you place collectively these sort of matchups right here, you higher be prepared. You higher be prepared as a result of you realize precisely what you’re getting on the opposite finish. And they had been a prepared group.

“I’m not taking a look at this, involved about the way forward for this system, however it’s actuality. We’re right here, and anybody who’s sensible is gonna take a look at the schedule and say: ‘These guys have their work cut out of them.’”

Miller has a group devoid of management, apart from Collin Hartman, and Hartman’s harm – once more. He tweaked his groin on Thursday, and Miller mentioned he could possibly be out some time. Weeks, not days. That’s a twofold drawback: One, Hartman is the Hoosiers’ greatest Three-point shooter. Two, he’s the steadiest participant on an erratic roster, one which Miller clearly has not been in a position to attain but.

“We’ll get better,” Miller mentioned. “That’s the one thing I have confidence. We’ll get better.”

Well, positive. IU can’t worsen. Let’s be sincere: IU can’t even duplicate a efficiency as dangerous as this one, an entire and complete breakdown the place the Hoosiers allowed Indiana State to shoot 65.Four p.c on Three-pointers (17-for-26) and shot simply 22.2 p.c themselves on Three-pointers (Four-for-18). Juwan Morgan missed a dunk. Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk missed uncontested layups. Morgan shot an air ball on a Three-pointer. So did Devonte Green. The Hoosiers had 19 turnovers.

Probably IU’s best second got here within the ultimate 5 minutes, when Freddie McSwain went to the road for 2 free throws. Indiana trailed 88-61. The Hoosiers had been taking part in for satisfaction, and provided that they’d proven little of that for 35 minutes, what occurred subsequent can’t be too shocking:

McSwain missed the primary free throw. On his second free throw, Robert Johnson – senior Robert Johnson – stepped into the lane too quickly for a turnover. For good measure, McSwain missed the second free throw anyway.

The sport was lengthy pbaded by then. One half into the season, 20 minutes into Archie Miller’s tenure, the gang tried to boo the Hoosiers off the court docket. The IU band began up instantly, drowning out the ugliness with a hasty rendition of the struggle track.

When Indiana State’s Qiydar Davis hit a Three-pointer to provide the Sycamores a 70-40 lead at Assembly Hall – learn that once more, please – followers began leaving. A couple of minutes later Brenton Scott (24 factors) hit Indiana State’s 17th Three-pointer in 22 makes an attempt (by no means thoughts; learn that once more) and it was 83-55 with 7:53 left. Now, followers had been booing.

But the perfect Indiana coach in Assembly Hall on this night time, the band director, shortly drummed up the William Tell Overture, drowning out the ugliness as soon as extra. Unable to precise their frustration verbally, followers began to depart in large chunks.

On the IU sideline, Archie Miller was not teaching on his toes. He usually splits his time stalking the sideline or crouching, staring and muttering to himself. Toward the top he was slumped in his chair, watching Indiana State take his group behind the woodshed from the perfect seat in the home, beneath the 5 nationwide championship banners.

He’s been training with this group. He’s seen it play exhibitions. Archie is aware of what he has. And what he has is a large number.

“It’s an unsure team when to pbad, unsure team when to shoot, and it’s an unsure team of how to dribble,” he mentioned. “We’re just a hodgepodge. … When you’re down six or eight or 12, it isn’t there. They kind of look around like: Why is it happening like this?”

It’s occurring like this as a result of the perfect factor about IU basketball, on this night time anyway, was the trumpet part. Give these children a scholarship. I can suppose of some IU gamers who haven’t performed a lot to earn theirs.

Find IndyStar columnist Gregg Doyel on Twitter: @GreggDoyelStar or at fb.com/gregg.doyel.