Archie Miller and Chris Mack on Sunday. David Jablonski/Staff
WHIO’s Larry Hansgen talked to Dayton coach Archie Miller on Monday for the weekly Archie Miller Show. You can listen to the interview here. I transcribed some highlights from the interview below.
On whether he would have taken a 2-1 record in Orlando: “Probably. Once you get there, you get greedy and you want all three. All in all, I remember thinking back to how nervous we were and how much we were preparing to play a good Iowa team. I thought our guys were amped up aned ready to play. A hard-fought victory that got a little too close for comfort. … Once you get that first win in the tournament, it feels like a million dollars. It takes the pressure off you.
On Monmouth: “Monmouth, in getting a chance to see them up close and personal, they are a pain in the butt. They are really good. That’s one of the most dynamic point guards we’ll see.”
On Xavier: “The final was disappointing. Anytime you lose a championship, that deflates you. … Being able to play Xavier on that stage and not get the job done in a lot of areas. … It probably would have felt better if we lost to USC by 28 points. I know that sounds funny. … That game is really going to change the face of our program as we get to attack the month of December. It was a physical approach. It was a mental approach. We weren’t ready to match that in a lot of ways. We were immature in a lot of ways. We were weak-minded. We let them take the fight to us on all levels. That’s not what we’ve been about.”
In summary: “To be 5-1 right now with the competition we’ve faced, we have real answers. We don’t have fake answers. We’ve beaten good teams. We’ve lost to a good team. … If we can clean up turning the ball over, if we can be a better defensive rebounding team, if we can find ways to communicate better in transition, be organized and close out on shooters better and start to defend the line better, we can improve greatly from where are now.
On gap in experience between juniors and rest of team: “There’s a big gap in consistency with our subs and because of the way the game’s being officiated. We’re having hard whistles. We’re not able to keep guys on the floor as much as we want. In the Xavier game, 65 percent of the minutes were played by freshmen. That stands out in terms of being able to deal with a game like that, but they’ve got to get better. They’ve got to grow up.”
On Scoochie Smith: “He was phenomenal in the Iowa and Monmouth game. You talk about crunch time alone. Him with a couple of those finishes around the basket late in the game. I thought he had a tremendous run down there. I didn’t think his floor game was particualry good against Xavier. He just turned the ball over a few too many times.”
On the freshmen: “There’s guys for the first time in all reality took their first road trip and spent time with each other. You start to learn who people are. … I still think we have a lot of guys uncertain and worried about making mistakes, which is natural early in the season.”
On Charles Cooke: I don’t think Charles had a great game against Xavier. He wasn’t as tough as needs to be, but we wouldn’t be 5-1 without Charles.”
On improving: “We have just got to clean up the mental mistakes: knowing what play we’re in, passing the ball to the guy on time, illegal screens. Those are things we’ve got to get out of the way. Part of it’s youth. Part of it’s new guys. There’s got to be more discipline.”
On the officiating: “I’m not going to blame the officials because it’s not the officials who changed the rules. It’s the rules committee, the coaches who wanted these things enforced, and they’re enforcing them. I thought our Iowa game was a physical game, a well-officiated game. I thought our Monmouth game was poorly officiated. I thought it was a very inconsistent officiated crew compared to the night before. I thought we had a Final Four-level crew in our Xavier game, and we had 55 fouls. We shot as many free throws as we’ve shot all year. It’s about interior post play. When the ball gets down there, how are you going to call the game? Because there’s going to be a collision however you look at it. And what’s a legal collision? That’s where the game’s very hard to officiate: in the paint.
On the difficult schedule: “You don’t have to keep telling me about it. I was looking at what we’re dealing with today. From William & Mary all the way to Chattanooga, every team on the schedule will either be picked to win their league or thinks they have a chance to win their league or we’re playing a BCS team that’s going to be in the NCAA tournament. That’s what the schedule is meant for. Last year it was a scary day when we were placed in the First Four. Part of the reason we were in the First Four didn’t really have much to do with the non-conference as it did with how we stacked up with our partners in conference. We just didn’t have enough of the good opponents going against each other for the amount of RPI games. One thing we wanted to do this season, knowing the type of team we had coming into the season, was let’s make sure there aren’t those games that are the 250s (in the RPI) or 220s. Make it the 175s. In our case, we’re probably looking at everybody under 150, which is unbelievable. The problem is you have to play a North Florida team on Saturday that made 17 3s and beat Illinois, that has already went to Louisville and scored 41 in the first half and didn’t score much in the second half, is shooting 46 percent from 3 as a team, which is fourth in the country. They have five players who can shoot the 3 on the floor at one time. It’s a scary game. It’s a lot like playing another Monmouth. We have to be ready to go. It’s probably going to come down to the end.”