After reeling off seven straight wins, IU men's basketball’s win streak came to a halt in Sunday’s 74-63 loss to No. 2 University of Michigan. Ahead of Friday night’s road showdown against the University of Maryland, IU Coach Archie Miller made a return to his weekly radio show “Inside IU Basketball with Archie Miller.”
Here are three notable moments from the hour-long show featuring Miller, IU Radio Announcer Don Fischer and Sports Information Director J.D. Campbell.
Fast starts are crucial
IU’s struggles this season can be linked to slow starts on the offensive end.
In road games against Duke University and Michigan, IU has struggled to get its footing early in the game, leading to a pair of tough losses.
Against Michigan, Miller’s team trailed 21-9 and saw the Wolverines go on a 21-4 run in the first half while leading scorers Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford struggled with foul trouble.
Miller believes faster starts will lead to better overall performances as Big Ten play continues.
“We’re not running hard enough at the start of the race,” Miller said. “We have to come out of the gates more disciplined offensively. We can’t play catch up.”
The Hoosiers need more bench support
Entering the season, it looked as though IU may have had one of the deepest teams it's had in the past decade.
However, with injuries to redshirt freshman forward Race Thompson, freshman guard Rob Phinisee and freshman forwards Jerome Hunter and Jake Forrester, IU has struggled to build a consistent offensive force off the bench.
In Sunday’s loss, the Hoosiers finished with zero points from their reserves. Sophomore forward Clifton Moore and senior forwards Zach McRoberts and Evan Fitzner all saw time on the floor, but struggled to get anything going for IU.
Miller says that he needs to get Fitzner going more after his impressive play at the beginning of the season, including a 16-point outing against Marquette University.
Miller also wants freshman Damezi Anderson to get more early minutes in games. Anderson, who saw zero minutes Sunday despite being healthy, has played sparingly throughout the year with IU struggling to nail down a rotation.
As players start to come back healthy, including Phinisee and Forrester, Miller said he believes IU will develop a deep rotation that will provide starters like senior forward Juwan Morgan and freshman guard Romeo Langford with more rest during the grueling conference schedule.
The Big Ten’s depth is legit
Four games into the conference season, Miller said he recognizes the Big Ten's top-flight potential.
In the most recent edition of the Associated Press Poll, the Big Ten had four teams in the rankings: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Six others received votes. Only two teams remain undefeated, and all but three have at least one conference win.
Before Sunday’s game, Miller spoke with CBS Broadcaster Clark Kellogg who believes the Big Ten is stronger than it has been in a decade or more.
Miller believes there could be nine or 10 teams from the conference to make the NCAA Tournament this season and that Big Ten play will prepare the Hoosiers to play anyone at any time.
IU returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday night against Maryland.