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Next Up - Indiana

The Hoosiers are back in Cameron for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Indiana
 Nov 29, 2017; Bloomington, IN, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Marques Bolden (20) scrambles for a loose ball against Indiana Hoosiers guard Aljami Durham (1) during the second half at Assembly Hall. 
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Archie Miller is no stranger to Cameron. As a member of the Wolfpack, he made several trips with then-coach Herb Sendek. He was a 5-9 guard who wasn’t that gifted but was intense and smart and held his own.

As a coach he’s been impressive. He took the Dayton job and made that program a real threat to anyone.

For Indiana, he’s represented hope. Since Bob Knight was forced out at the turn of the century, IU basketball has, at best, been erratic. Mike Davis made some brief noise, getting to the title game in 2002, but he failed. Kelvin Sampson was a poor fit who got Indiana in NCAA trouble which may have been a first. It’s always been a pretty clean program.

Tom Crean rebuilt, generated some excitement, then faded away and most Indiana fans seemed happy to see him go.

Miller was a great hire. He’s young, his Dayton program punched above its weight, and he’s a coach’s kid. He knows what he’s doing.

Even so, a win in Cameron would be not just an upset but a significant upset. And it’s not because IU is a bad team because it’s not.

But it is a limited team due to injuries: Jerome Hunter, Race Thompson, Devonte Green, Zach McRoberts (Josh’s younger brother), De’Ron Davis, and Al Durham are all dealing with issues and in the last game, star freshman Romeo Langford took a pop to the nose.

Against UT-Arlington, Miller had six players available; against UC-Davis Friday, four starters played at least 36 minutes and the bench had three reserves.

Juwan Morgan is the best player Miller has and he cleaned up against the Aggies, finishing with 31 points and 10 boards. The 6-8 senior is averaging 17.5 ppg, nine rpg and 2.5 assists.

With so many injuries it’s hard to know what to expect from the Hoosiers, other than the kind of effort Miller’s teams always give. That’ll be there no matter who plays.

The Hoosiers would probably have preferred that Duke win the Maui Classic rather than lose to Gonzaga. They’d have had a much better chance of catching Duke napping if so.

That’s unlikely to happen. Duke didn't come close to its best in Hawaii and you can bet that the coaching staff has checked under everyone’s hood and done the proper tune ups.

This might be especially true for the lavishly gifted Cam Reddish.

The freshmen made, well, a lot of freshmen mistakes in the Maui Classic.

A lot of them came on defense, an area he acknowledged wasn’t his strength as far back as a year ago.

RJ Barrett may have had his shots reviewed. No one is going to want to take his aggression away but he may be counseled to be more selective.

And the focus for Zion Williamson, who Coach K said didn’t have as much fun as he usually does, will be getting his Joie de vivre back. It probably didn’t go far, but it seemed AWOL in Hawaii.

These are minor concerns really. The bigger long-term Duke model involves communication, sacrifice and trust. Those things will be worked on all season as always.

We’ve always been interested in seeing Duke after a loss. Typically the intensity ratchets up, especially on defense, and quite often the team will show you what the focus has been in the first few minutes. On defense it’s just a question of effort and communication but on offense, a lot of times you’ll see Duke do the same thing several times at the beginning of the game. It might be to drive or to get the ball inside to a particular player or to try to get someone in particular off to a good start.

It’s a good way for us get an insight into what’s been discussed in practice and video sessions.

Despite IU’s significant injury woes, you should expect a passionate effort from the Hoosiers. It’s Miller’s trademark. He might have to play walk-ons, but by God the walk-ons will play hard.

It should be an interesting experience for Coach K. Miller played in a high school event in Cameron where he embarrassed Duke target Baron Davis who was vastly more talented.

Based on what Coach K said about not recruiting Steph and Seth Curry out of high school (too small), we’re reasonably sure that Miller, at 5-9 was as well.

But he had a courtside seat to see Miller’s intelligence and competitive ferocity. It must be interesting to see that scrawny, undersized point guard come back with a damned good team. The injuries may doom IU but Miller’s smarts and his ability to transfer his intensity to his charges mean that the Hoosiers are going to be hard to beat now and probably impossible to embarrass.

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