Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: The star-crossed tragedy of IU men’s basketball and Archie Miller

<p>IU men&#x27;s basketball head coach Archie Miller speaks Oct. 2, 2019, at Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Rosemont, Illinois. Miller was the head coach from 2017 to 2021.</p>

IU men's basketball head coach Archie Miller speaks Oct. 2, 2019, at Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Rosemont, Illinois. Miller was the head coach from 2017 to 2021.

Prologue

One program clinging to its dignity, in fair Bloomington where we lay our scene, a struggling team fell under scrutiny. So, IU basketball fired Tom Crean.

Archie Miller was the coach IU chose, with hopes he would give the Hoosiers new life. But after poor offense and worse free throws, it became clear Miller brought mostly strife. 

While IU fans are often full of love, in Miller’s time they did not hide their rage. They believed Miller ought to be removed for never reaching the sport’s biggest stage. 

Thus, the university we attend, must start anew and find a way to mend.

Act One

From the University of Dayton, home of the Flyers, in 2017 Miller was hired. 

An Elite Eight visit was his claim to fame, and a certain excitement was attached to his name. It seemed as though Miller would change the game, not spin his tires with more of the same. 

Defense was a strong point — offense, not so much. The passing was poor and the shooting lacked touch. 

Still, there were upsides to Miller’s reboot. He signed Romeo Langford, a five-star recruit. But Langford just couldn’t quite carry the team, and the hype train stalled after 2018. 

The NIT was IU’s destination, a quick quarterfinal elimination. 

Act Two

Langford skipped town, but IU wasn’t left stranded. A helping hand came, and that help was left-handed. 

Trayce Jackson-Davis, a scoring machine, joined shooters like Al Durham and Devonte Green. 

The journey was long and paved with adversity. Then IU caught fire against Florida State University. The Hoosiers stole five wins from schools that were ranked. Then again, there were times when they totally stank.

Triumphs took turns with 20-point losses, but the wins were enough to appease Miller’s bosses. When at long last the postseason talk came around, it felt like the Hoosiers were tournament-bound.

I won’t tell you what happened next because, well, who needs to relive a 14-month hell?

Act Three

The Hoosiers were close to the big dance, no doubt. Still, no March Madness games equals no clout. The path to approval has only one route, and NIT visits are nothing to tout. 

IU started sloppy, but had good reasons — young players, new gameplans and no real offseason. 

Yet the Hoosiers kept losing in all the same ways, getting trounced several times once they hit Big Ten play. Who needs cash for boxing on pay-per-view? To see a butt-whooping, just watch IU play Purdue. 

Time after time that the Hoosiers got beat, Miller sweat more on his scalding hot seat. Fans and alumni charged forward in fleets in a grammarless maelstrom of quickly-typed Tweets.

Act Four 

This spring, the tournament came to our home state, where fans vacillate between thrilled and irate. 

Ankles were twisted and noses were smashed, and IU’s postseason hopes once more were dashed. 

In 49 others, it’s merely a sport. In Indiana, nothing’s of greater import. Thus, I see why folks were all out of sorts when the Hoosiers couldn’t even play on their home court. 

All of the star-studded in-state recruiting couldn’t make up for their god-awful shooting. March 15, thanks to two hefty donations, Miller was exiled from the Hoosier nation. 

Miller was fired, though none of us cried for his $10.53 million goodbye.

Full rides are godsends for kids who need aid, but the school has some coaches who need to get paid. 

Act Five

Miller was gone and IU needed answers. Who could corral all the possible transfers? The Hoosiers were broken and needed a fix. Enter Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks.

Sure, Woodson won plenty back in the day, but his hire raised more question marks than hoorays. Hoosier fans’ hearts didn’t lean Woodson’s way — until he convinced Jackson-Davis to stay.

Armaan Franklin and Durham were gone, but Woodson kept Race Thompson from moving on. A pair of skilled freshmen remained on the depth chart, and Woodson appears to be off to a great start. 

Hopefully now all our heads have been cleared. Stop tweeting and dry those rage-induced tears. It’s not all that tragic. Let go of your fears. 

We’re watching a game, not reading Shakespeare.

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