Archie Miller is now 0-7 against Purdue after IU’s 67-58 loss on Saturday afternoon at Mackey Arena. The question now is not whether Miller will ever beat the Boilermakers, but will he get another opportunity to try?
IU is limping — quite literally! — into the postseason with five straight losses, the latest marking the program’s ninth consecutive loss to Purdue. The last time IU dropped nine in a row to the Boilermakers? 1935.
Here are Three Things:
A failure in offensive execution
Indiana had open looks. It had ample opportunities to get off shots. But the Hoosiers’ continued inability to execute and finish on the offensive end did them in. Again.
Indiana didn’t have just one backbreaking scoring drought on Saturday. The Hoosiers had several. IU went seven minutes without a field goal midway through the first half, then went scoreless for a three-and-a-half-minute skid late in the period. In the second half, IU farted out a nearly five-minute span of impotence. Fun and enjoyable to watch, this was not. Again.
Maybe the most frustrating part of it all was that Purdue wasn’t exactly authoring the beautiful game on the other end. The Boilers were just OK. And yet, on this day, that was plenty good enough against Miller’s program. IU trailed by nine at the half, and twice cut its deficit to two possessions. But each time Indiana closed the gap, Purdue would answer and the Hoosiers would go silent.
Really, though, the game was lost in the first half. Indiana looked good enough during the opening minutes, getting out to a 7-0 lead and hitting four of its first eight shots from the field. But over the final 15 minutes of the period, the Hoosiers went merely 4-for-19 from the field. They shot 1-for-13 from 3-point range during the half and just generally looked like a group of individuals with no idea of how to lift a basketball into the air.
Even with the injuries, there’s no reason IU should look this bad
Saturday marked the fourth straight game that Indiana’s offense was held under .900 points per possession, according to the database at BartTorvik.com. The last time that happened with the Hoosiers was February 2009, back when Tom Crean was running through the Big Ten with a ragtag roster and such futility could be explained away.
Yeah, a healthy Armaan Franklin would’ve helped recently. Sure, having Joey Brunk in a game like this would’ve been nice. Definitely, a fully-healthy Race Thompson would’ve been a boost during the past couple of games. Indiana has been dealing with mounting injury issues over the course of its five-game skid, but it’s no excuse for the team to perform so poorly at this point, four years in. It all stems from the failures of Miller and his staff in recruiting and player development. The problems now are the same problems that have been obvious for the bulk of Miller’s tenure. They don’t get fixed, so they keep surfacing — and torpedoing any chance for Indiana and its coach to reroute the course of the program. It’s tiresome to keep saying that, but it is what it is.
Miller’s offense has a long list of issues. IU doesn’t screen or pass well. It doesn’t have reliable creators. It lacks urgency. It’s antiquated. And the same thing that absolutely killed this team two years ago is destroying it now: the Hoosiers can’t shoot, going 11-for-58 (19%) from 3-point range over the past three games. The recent futility has knocked IU’s season percentage down to 33.1%, which is only ever so slightly better than the 32.6% mark the team posted a year ago.
Out in Las Vegas, Tim Buckley weeps.
Jerome Hunter got back on track in the second half
As mentioned in Friday’s preview, it’s been a slow go for Hunter recently. Across the previous four losses, Hunter totaled just 21 points and went 2-for-13 from beyond the arc. But during Saturday’s second half, Hunter was IU’s best player. He scored 10 points, hit each of his first four shots from the field — including a 3-pointer — grabbed two rebounds, dished an assist and recorded a steal in 18 minutes of action. With IU trying to narrow the gap, Hunter did his part.