Indiana Basketball: 3 Keys to the Big Ten Tournament

Archie Miller, Indiana Basketball. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Archie Miller, Indiana Basketball. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Indiana Basketball
Indiana basketball, Joey Brunk, Rob Phinisee. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

2. Different offensive lineups

It is not hyperbole when I say this Indiana team is one of the most excruciating offensive teams I have ever watched. Since an 89-point outburst against Iowa on February 13th, the Hoosiers have only eclipsed 70 points once (72 against Minnesota) and have shot a mere 41 percent from the field overall.

Who is at fault for these offensive woes is up for debate among the fanbase. Is it Archie Miller’s fault or is it the players’ fault?

I think when the offense is this bad it has to be a bit of both. Archie Miller’s preferred starting lineup of Rob Phinisee, Al Durham, Justin Smith, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Joey Brunk features not a single player who can create their own offense. It also only contains two players who can shoot threes, leaving teams with very little consequence should they choose to pack the lane.

Devonte Green is the only one who can consistently create a shot for himself, but he can’t create shots for others. Green can sometimes fuel the offense all by himself, but as we saw versus Wisconsin, a team can key in on him, taking his offense away and leaving IU right back where they started.

Read. Trayce Jackson-Davis Receives All-Big Ten Honors. light

Every half-court possession feels impossible for the Hoosiers. When the ball goes in the hoop, it is a relief, not an expectation. The sheer amount of work and effort that goes into each basket is astonishing.

While it isn’t Archie Miller’s fault that his players aren’t offensively inclined, he can do things to improve his team’s chances of scoring. A lineup of Phinisee, Green, Durham, Jerome Hunter, and Trayce Jackson-Davis should be experimented with just to space the floor. You lose some defensive ability, but if your team’s offense is this bad, it doesn’t matter how good your defense is. If you don’t score points, you don’t win no matter how stifling you are on defense.

Many people defend Archie Miller, saying it’s not his fault his players miss layups. This is only half-true. Miller chooses to play lineups that clog the paint with 3-4 defenders at almost all times. It doesn’t matter who you are, a layup in that much traffic is a difficult shot. Miller has the ability to try to give his team an edge with different lineups, but rarely experiments.

If his team finds itself in a drought this postseason, it may be time to get funky with the lineups.