The "radical changes" that Archie Miller alluded to after Indiana's defeat of Minnesota were not a matter of reinvention, but of rediscovery.
There have been few significant systematic revisions, no dramatic adjustments to the rotation, or changes in the transmission of messages to the original composition. The only radical change was how IU approached the game and how it competed. Indiana was almost unrecognizable from the apathetic team that spoke Saturday against Minnesota. Despite a possible defeat from 48 to 46, she seemed to belong – really sincerely – to the same court as Purdue.
The Hoosiers entered the game, ready to compete, which was in itself a change. That they supported this effort for the duration of the game was a revelation. Indiana had long been looking for the confidence and intensity with which he played at the beginning of the year and on Tuesday night, she seemed to have finally regained her confidence.
"Lose at home [to] Nebraska, in the way that we actually shaken, shook our confidence, "said Archie Miller. "And we tried to get out of it a few times. You saw it tonight. Obviously, at Michigan State, we had a good performance, but in most of our other games, our team's level of confidence was generally focused and sometimes we forgot what really matters. And that's the undisputed maximum effort you make, whatever the circumstances. "
From the beginning, it became clear that Indiana would not let itself be outclassed or be surprised as it has done so many times in the past month. The Hoosiers fought the glass, challenged Purdue physically at the edge and fought for entire defensive possessions. They turned the game into a slog, which seemed to undermine Purdue's energy while invigorating Indiana.
"A really tough match," said Miller. "Probably as a physical match at a basketball game I've always participated in."
This physical aspect was manifested from the beginning, while both teams fought outright. The result was a very ugly but extremely difficult contest in which the participants had no choice but to match the intensity of the match. Both teams scored less than 0.8 points per possession and shot a combined total of 34 out of 115 from the field and 11 out of 55 from downtown. Indiana trailed by controlling the foul line and the glass as Purdue won the goals and goals battles inside. Above all, it was the defensive efforts of both teams that kept the match tight.
Thanks to constant vigilance and targeted assistance at the right time, the Hoosiers put Carsen Edwards on almost everything he had achieved and limited the Top Ten of the Year candidate to just nine points on four shots. 24 and 0 out of 10. Deep.
Al Durham, in particular, closely watched Edwards, slaloming through screen circuits to stay tight on the goalkeeper's hip, while Juwan Morgan and De'Ron Davis were assisting the back line as needed. Durham, who cleared Matt McQuaid in the last IU victory, is perhaps the most vigilant guardian of UI and the most dangerous insect. Purdue's Nojel Eastern did much the same job against Romeo Langford, who only scored six goals.
Both teams have slightly modified their defensive approaches from their first confrontation. The Boilermakers, who have touched Langford at the most extreme of UI opponents, have not paid so much attention to the barricade of the track, leaving Eastern – perhaps the best defender of the Big Ten sail – the opportunity to apply. more pressure. Indiana, meanwhile, recalled his hard covers on balloon screens, which allowed him to better contain the actions of Purdue in pick-and-roll and dribbling.
Nevertheless, Edwards and Langford both found ways to remain offensive – Edwards acting as playmaker and Langford making steady home runs to the free throw line – allowing each team to support physical work of the match. Langford was the best player on the ground in the first half, playing at both ends with confidence that sometimes escaped him. He seemed to make a concerted effort on the glass
Morgan struggled offensively, but helped to tie Indiana on the defense front and played a central role in his efforts on the boards. Davis' presence in the second half proved difficult for Purdue to handle. In the end, it was not enough, because Indiana's mistakes made them lose once again. The Hoosiers missed 13 shots on the ground, spat the ball 17 times and missed seven free throws.
Langford did not attempt a shot in the second half, when the offense came back slightly to old trends, and the team had only seven assists – an indicator of stagnation . None of these factors could have tipped the game in the manner of Indiana had it been executed more neatly.
Still: Indiana showed signs of life Tuesday night, and that alone marks progress. The Hoosiers clashed, dominated the crowd and narrowly faced off against a top team. The remaining schedule does not win easily, and this team is almost out of opportunities to restart its season. Indiana will suffer the consequences of this loss, hoping that it will lead to better days.
"I was proud of our level of effort. I was proud of our solidarity, "Miller said. "The team that spoke tonight was very willing. It's the thing that has to stay. "