In Could 2017, Archie Miller sat in his new workplace at Indiana College and described his imaginative and prescient for rebuilding a downtrodden blueblood program.
“The id and tradition over time has to begin and cease with taking part in actual laborious,” Miller advised me. “We’ve to be a type of groups the place everybody we play is aware of, ‘That is going to be somewhat completely different tonight. It’s going to be laborious.’ That doesn’t imply we win each recreation, however everybody has to realize it’s going to be laborious.”
Final Wednesday, in Miller’s 121st recreation main the Hoosiers, the coach watched Rutgers—the worst program in the Large Ten when he arrived—dunk throughout his passive crew. The Scarlet Knights grabbed uncontested rebounds, swatted away photographs and ran the ground with impunity. They took a 20-point lead earlier than easing off and profitable by 11.
Laborious? This was simple. Laughably simple. Low-point-of-the-Miller-era simple.
Indiana adopted that embarrassment with a 3rd straight loss Saturday, 73–57, to Michigan. This was far much less humiliating—the 18-1 Wolverines are the greatest crew in the Large Ten and certainly one of the three greatest in the nation—nevertheless it additionally was by no means doubtful. The desperation you’d anticipate from an Indiana crew sitting squarely on the NCAA Match bubble was by no means evident.
“We’ve obtained to return out hungrier than the opponent,” mentioned Indiana guard Al Durham after the recreation. “We’ve obtained to need it extra.”
There was no indication the Hoosiers wished it greater than Michigan Saturday. Beating Indiana wasn’t fairly as simple Saturday because it was Wednesday, however neither was it laborious.
In 4 seasons, taking part in Miller’s Indiana groups has by no means been terribly troublesome. The laborious half by no means began. That id and tradition he envisioned hasn’t materialized. Probably the most completed of all Large Ten applications, with 5 nationwide championship banners hanging in Meeting Corridor, has been a below-average league member all through Miller’s tenure.
His present document: 67-55, simply 33-42 in convention play. With a 7-10 Large Ten mark this 12 months, Miller has earned the distinction of changing into the first coach in Indiana historical past to go his first 4 seasons at the faculty and not using a single profitable document in league video games.
Indiana was not an NCAA tourney crew in Miller’s first two seasons, then most likely would have squeezed in final 12 months—however not by a lot. This 12 months, the Hoosiers (12-12 total) are on the outdoors wanting in with two troublesome street video games left in the common season.
We’ve seen sufficient proof to know Archie Miller isn’t the man to revive Indiana basketball. However what’s the faculty going to do about it?
Miller has a reported $10 million buyout, which is actual cash at a time when IU and each different faculty are going through actual income shortfalls. So it will not be stunning if athletic director Scott Dolson decides for monetary causes to present Miller yet one more season.
But when Indiana does really feel compelled to make a change, the man it ought to pursue to exchange Miller is clear.
He spent most of his childhood in the state. Graduated from an Indiana faculty. Coached at an Indiana faculty. He understands what Indiana basketball means. Extra importantly, he’s an enormous winner who orchestrated what could be the biggest program rebuild ever.
The apparent selection is Scott Drew.
He grew up in Valparaiso whereas his dad, Homer, was the coach of the Crusaders. Went to Butler. Succeeded Homer as head coach at Valpo. Then left after a season to tackle the murder-scarred program at Baylor.
Right this moment, Drew is finishing his 14th straight profitable season. He has an undefeated crew that’s certainly one of the favorites to win the nationwide title. Over the previous two seasons he’s 44-4 … at Baylor, which is a way more troublesome place to win than Indiana.
Positive, Indiana might proceed to press its nostril in opposition to the NBA window and stare longingly at Hoosier State homeboy Brad Stevens. There’s a probability Stevens’s tenure is winding down with the Boston Celtics: he hasn’t fairly gotten them over the hump in eight seasons, and this 12 months’s crew is falling aside. However there’s far much less probability that Stevens could be fascinated with coming again to school basketball—he’d produce other NBA choices, and like Billy Donovan he doesn’t miss loads of the junk that comes with the faculty recreation.
Or Indiana might make one other run at Tony Bennett. But when he turned the faculty down 4 years in the past, what would make him really feel in another way now? Particularly since he’s confirmed he can win a nationwide title at Virginia?
He’s not sad at Baylor, however Drew could be the large fish Indiana might land. Baylor has developed basketball following—for each the males’s and ladies’s applications—however Texas stays bedrock soccer nation. If Drew desires one probability at an influence program that prioritizes hoops, in a state he is aware of properly, this might be it.
Indiana College has to determine whether or not it could actually afford to fireside Archie Miller, who has didn’t ship the id and tradition—and victories—he envisioned. If Indiana will pay the eight-figure invoice, there’s an apparent selection for its subsequent coach. Time to ask Scott Drew to return residence once more to Indiana.