MADISON, Wis. — One word was repeated more than any other in the post-game reactions of Archie Miller, Devonte Green, and Al Durham: communication. It was clear that the coach and captains of the Hoosiers were all on the same page knowing the primary cause for concern in Indiana’s lopsided road loss against Wisconsin.
Archie Miller did not hesitate to call out the leaders of this sneakily young team. “The thing I took away most importantly is where we’re at from a leadership standpoint… We had a quiet group today all the way around,” Miller said. “I’ve got to do a better job to find ways to continue each other as they talk to one another.”
“Part of working on your game is to step outside yourself and try to be better in certain areas and I think we need to better in the area of talking. The communication on the floor tonight whether it was early in the game when we saw guys getting whacked from a screen they didn’t see coming.”
“Today was a quiet group out there at times. You have to have a rallying cry at some point. Somebody’s got to be able to shake you up a little… We got to get Devonte to be a bit more demonstrative. Justin, as good as he was with his voice on Tuesday, was a bit quiet today.”
The Hoosiers played well at home leading up to their Big Ten opener. Sure, they did not really have any formidable competition except a ranked Florida State team that Indiana beat by 16, but their defense showed sustainable qualities that many thought could carry from game to game.
That was proven otherwise this afternoon. Wisconsin shot a blistering 53.6% from the floor and 40.0% from behind the arc. On a top-30 Indiana defense, the Badgers were able to tally over 1.4 points per possession. Wisconsin’s 84 points were the most scored on Indiana this season by a margin of ten.
Across the board, Archie and his players all pointed to the dreaded C-word that Indiana fans have heard in the past. During a miserable 13-game stretch where the Hoosiers lost 12 in the 2018-2019 season, media members heard similar issues about the ability to talk to each other on the floor. Communication on the floor did not happen during that period.
Is that bugaboo starting to show its head again?
When asked what he thought the problem was, Devonte Green responded, “I just don’t think we’re on the same page. We gave up a lot of open threes especially, and we could have been better at communicating.”
The Hoosiers got “smacked” on screens that they were not expecting, they were not in position to guard Trice on the perimeter, Reuvers on the middle block, or Kobe King’s drives, and those issues ultimately led to easy looks for the Badgers. Indiana’s defense was simply exposed and the broken connection between players on the floor allowed that to happen.
What happens next and how do the Hoosiers bounce back?
Junior guard and captain Al Durham took on the responsibility on his shoulders, “We gotta do better communicating. We gotta do better communicating screens and letting our teammates know whats going on. We gotta emphasize communicating and bounce back from this.”
When asked how such a lack of communication happens, he responded, “It starts from inside. I gotta make it an emphasis for everyone to talk and I take responsibility.”
For Miller, it’s important to stay the course and stay grounded. The first loss hurts and you may be led to believe that everything that they are doing isn’t working. The truth is that you have to find a medium. Without much of a break, Miller will work with the staff to emphasis a couple things that they view as unacceptable and to keep calm as they take on UConn.
“This team has shown over the course of the early season to be coachable and team oriented,” Miller said. “Just like you’re staying grounded on Tuesday, you have to stay even more grounded now.”
Indiana takes on UConn on Tuesday evening at 9:00 p.m. for the 2019 Jimmy V Classic event at Madison Square Garden. Keep an eye out for how the Hoosiers communicate as they try to get back on the winning side of the ledger.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ