BOZICH | Indiana's March Malaise a challenge for Archie Miller - WDRB 41 Louisville News

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BOZICH | Indiana's March Malaise a challenge for Archie Miller

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Archie Miller will coach in his first Big Ten Tournament Thursday night. Archie Miller will coach in his first Big Ten Tournament Thursday night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Indiana is Penn State.

If I were opening a discussion about linebacker play or Fiesta Bowl results, Indiana would have no reason to duck a Penn State comparison.

This will be a basketball discussion. A Big Ten basketball discussion. A Big Ten Tournament basketball discussion.

Having your name tucked inside the same set of parentheses as Penn State is as uplifting as being handed a rotary phone.

As the 14 basketball teams gather in New York City for the start of league’s tournament at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, that’s where the Hoosiers sit on the list of Big Ten powers – tied for 10th all-time with Penn State.

Let the record show 12 victories and 20 defeats.

The Hoosiers have never been required to produce a pair of scissors. They’ve never cut down nets. There was a single second-place finish in 2001.

They’ve lost their opening game 11 times.

They’ve lost their opener as an 11 seed and as a One seed.

A.J. Guyton. Jared Jeffries. A. J. Moye. Dane Fife. Eric Gordon. D.J. White. Cody Zeller. Victor Oladipo. Yogi Ferrell. Tim Priller.

None has made a difference for the Hoosiers. Over two decades only four Indiana players have made the all-Big Ten Tournament team. Give Tom Coverdale another ovation. He’s the only IU player honored twice.

Ohio State has been represented by 21 guys. Wisconsin by 15.

There’s work to do in Bloomington.

Archie Miller has an opportunity to separate himself from the five IU coaches who preceded him.

Do something in the Big Ten Tournament. Fix Indiana's performance in the Big Ten Tournament as well as its performance in the NCAA Tournament. Twenty years without a Big Ten Tournament title is Indiana's Most Embarrassing Basketball moment. 

Bob Knight was the IU coach when the league finally showed that money mattered more than tradition and added a tournament to the agenda in 1998.

Knight hated the idea. He won his first game and then lost three straight, by an average of 8 points. Knight, a Hall of Famer who coached a group of collegians to the Olympic goal medal in 1984, exited with a worse Big Ten Tournament record (1-3) than Tommy Amaker, Ed DeChellis and Dan Monson.

In Hollywood, they call that a scene setter.

Mike Davis followed Knight. He won seven of 13 games six appearances, advancing to the finals once and semifinals three times. Davis deserved a statue.

Davis was followed by Kelvin Sampson. He lost to Illinois in overtime in his only appearance.

Sampson was followed by Dan Dakich. He lost to Minnesota when Blake Hoffarber threw in a miracle at the buzzer.

Dakich was followed by Tom Crean. He had a pair of Number One seeds but stalled in the semifinals in 2013 and quarterfinals in 2016, departing Bloomington with a 4-9 record in the party.

Enter Miller.

He can separate himself quickly from the five guys who preceded him in Bloomington with his first thunderous Big Ten Tournament run.

Beat either Rutgers or Minnesota in the Hoosiers’ opener Thursday night. That would guarantee a winning record for the 16-14 Hoosiers in Miller’s debut season.

Follow that with success against Purdue Friday.

Ok. I’ll stop there. To win the Big Ten Tournament, Indiana will likely have to defeat Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan State – and the Hoosiers went 0-5 against those three during the regular season.

What does the record show about Miller’s post-season performance at Dayton?

His teams performed better in the NCAA Tournament than the Atlantic 10 event. In conference play, the Flyers were 5-6 without a title. In the NCAA, Miller went 5-4, with an Elite Eight finish in 2014, followed by a Sweet Sixteen effort in 2015. He beat Ohio State, Syracuse, Stanford, Boise State and Providence.

November, December, January and February are fun. March is what people remember.

This week in Madison Square Garden, Archie Miller has a shot to separate himself from the Indiana coaches who have whiffed for 20 years in the Big Ten Tournament.

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