This was always going to be a transitional year for Archie Miller and the Indiana University men’s basketball program, but fans of the Hoosiers were still hoping to see their favorite team win a lot of games. While Indiana has performed admirably this season, they simply do not have the talent to compete with the best teams in the Big Ten Conference. This talent disparity was on full display when the Hoosiers lost to the Nebraska Cornhuskers yesterday.
A sloppy first half kept either team from being able to get a large lead. Indiana struggled to make easy shots the entire half, but their tough defense kept them in the game. They took a one-point lead into the locker room at halftime despite the poor effort on offense. Indiana continued to struggle on offense in the second half, but their defense also let them down. Nebraska stepped up their play over the final 12 minutes, which helped them go on a big scoring run. Indiana was unable to respond as they lost the game 66-57.
Indiana was on a small four-game winning streak prior to this game, but all of those wins were against bad teams. The Hoosiers have one more game left in the regular season. They will host the Ohio State Buckeyes at Bloomington Assembly Hall on Friday, February 23. Indiana has no shot at earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but their solid play recently has likely earned them a spot in the National Invitation Tournament.
On March 16th, Coach Tom Crean was fired after nine years as the head coach of the Indiana University men’s basketball coach. Nine days later, IU Athletic Director Fred Glass, named his replacement, Archie Miller, former head basketball coach for the Dayton University. Miller signed a seven-year contract in the range of $3.35 million per year.
Glass introduced the new head coach during a press conference on Monday. Glass was tight lipped about the process only saying the he was thrilled about the hire and that Miller was the only person he met face-to-face with. “I think the most important thing about any search is who you end up hiring, and I’m thrilled with the coach that we hired,” said Glass.
Miller, who is only 38, compiled a 139-63 record at Dayton during his six seasons as a head coach, his first such position. He had a winning season every year and advanced the Flyers to the last four NCAA tournaments. IU’s new head coach’s older brother is Sean Miller, the head coach at the University of Arizona.
After being introduced to the assembly, the new head coach took time to describe his vision for the program. The new coach indicated that Hoosier would play up tempo style of play that stresses half-court defense and physicality.
Miller said his first priority will be to complete his coaching staff. Beyond that, he has to determine his lineup for next year. The Hoosier have three players, Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby and James Blackmon Jr., that could potentially leave early for the NBA draft. Moreover, two members of Indiana’s recruiting class, Al Durham and Clifton Moore, asked IU for a release from their national letter of intent after Crean’s firing. Miller has contacted the 2017 signees in an effort to keep them at IU. The team received some good news on Thursday when Collin Hartman from Indianapolis Cathedral, who sat out last season due to an injury, announced that he will be coming back to IU for his final season.
The State of Indiana has always been considered one of the top basketball states in the country. Part of this allure is due to the fact that Indiana University often has one of the best teams in the country. While the Hoosiers are usually considered the top college basketball team in the State, a recent news article (http://wlfi.com/2016/12/18/no-18-butler-holds-off-late-comeback-to-beat-no-9-indiana/) points out that another school could now be considered the best basketball team in Indiana.
On Saturday, December 17, all college basketball fans were tuned in to the Indiana vs Butler game, which pitted two local rivals against each other. While both teams play in this game every year, this game was special as both teams were ranked among the top 20 teams in the country. Heading into the game Indiana was ranked number 9 in the country and Butler was number 18. Furthermore, both teams had already beaten some very good teams and were looking like they could go team in the national tournament in March.
While the Hoosiers were looking like they would win the game, the Butler Bulldogs ultimately won the game by a score of 83 to 78. While Butler was able to pull away late in the game, it was very tightly contested. The Hoosiers were led in the game by James Blackmon Jr, who ended up scoring 26 points. The Bulldogs ended up being led by Kelan Martin who scored 28 points and was able to score at will at times during the game against IU.