As it turned out, Indiana coach Archie Miller likely would have preferred one more game without the fans.
The crowd was tiny at Lucas Oil Stadium, but the partisan 8,000 had a clear message as it became apparent that Indiana’s disappointing 2020-21 season was coming to an end.
“Fire Archie!” they chanted.
Miller claimed he didn’t hear their call for his job, but he was asked for his reaction after the game. Specifically, Miller was asked whether he is concerned about his job security after ending his fourth season in Bloomington with a 12-15 record.
“I’m not entering any offseason wondering if I’m going to be back,” Miller said. “Those decisions are made way higher than me. My job is to run the program. We’re doing our thing here. I talk to our administration daily. We’re in a good spot.”
Indiana could not have closed things out on a more sour note, losing six straight games to end the season. Miller believes some key injuries down the stretch played a role in the Hoosiers’ demise. Armaan Franklin returned on Thursday night and came off the bench, but his absence no doubt hurt IU on both ends at the end of the season.
“Down the stretch you’re dealing with an injury or two, you’re playing without Armaan for a good three weeks, that really hurt us down the stretch being able to find a way to get one or two to alleviate some of the pressure,” Miller said.
But Miller’s struggles are not isolated to six games. After four seasons in Bloomington he has amassed a 67-58 overall record, a 33-44 Big Ten record, and he has never reached the NCAA Tournament, although he likely would have in 2020 before the season was cut short due to the pandemic.
As long as he has a job at Indiana, Miller said he intends to take stock, move forward, and search for answers.
“Like every program at this point in time, you have to take inventory. We got our opportunities, and we didn’t cash in on them. Performance matters, and our performance this season was inconsistent,” Miller said.
“No one is more disappointed than our team and our coaches and our program. That’s what you worry about right now. You’ve got to build it back up, find a way to get back up off the ground.”
Miller was asked what needs to change to return this program to where it is expected to be, but he didn’t have a lot of specifics just yet.
“Without a lot of time to digest and make a thousand decisions here 15 minutes after the game, there is a lot that needs to go into it and once we make get those answers we’ll make those decisions and do our best to execute it.”
Will Miller be back for the 2021-22 season? That is something very few people, if anyone, knows right now. Most likely not even Miller.
He may not know the answer to the big question about his job security, but Miller does believe if given the chance he can find answers at Indiana and right the ship.
“My message is to anybody right now that at the end of the day, we’ll be fine,” Miller said.
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