clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Compare and Contrast: Archie Miller and Tom Crean

How will the Indiana Hoosiers be different under new head coach Archie Miller?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Dayton vs Wichita State Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Despite four 20 win seasons and three trips to the Sweet Sixteen, Tom Crean was fired from his job as head coach at the University of Indiana on March 16th.

Just eleven days later, Archie Miller was named the 29th coach in the history of the Hoosiers illustrious program. Miller brought a 139-63 record in just six seasons as Dayton’s head coach, including an Elite Eight trip in 2014.

Both men have a resume of success and are nationally recognized coaches. But how will the Indiana program look under Miller’s guidance? What will be the same and what will be different? Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences Hoosiers fans can expect to see in the upcoming 2017-2018 season.

Miller vs. Crean: Similarities

Both coaches have long standing reputations as tireless workers. Both Archie Miller and Tom Crean bring an underdog mentality, which has formed the foundation of their coaching success. Crean learned under Jed Heathcote and Tom Izzo at Michigan State, and Miller under Thad Matta at Ohio State and with his brother Sean at Arizona.

Another strength of both coaches is recruiting. Crean used his recruiting skill as a foundation to rebuild Indiana basketball. Players like Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, and Yogi Ferrell had superb careers at Indiana.

Miller’s recruiting skills were equal, if not more impressive, than Crean’s at a smaller school in Dayton. His recruiting reputation grew from his Arizona days, and Miller left Dayton with an exceptionally strong class for the upcoming season.

Coaching wise both Crean and Miller expect their team to score easy baskets out of the secondary break, albeit with different styles. Two hardworking and intense coaches will always emphasize scoring easy baskets in transition.

There are many similarities among both Tom Crean and Archie Miller on how best to achieve Division I basketball success. In many ways, the foundation of the program will look very similar.

Miller vs. Crean: Differences

There will be, however, some major differences in the way the Indiana Hoosiers play next season. Let’s start on the offensive end of the floor.

Under Tom Crean, Indiana was a prolific Big Ten offensive team. As per KenPom, Indiana’s adjusted offensive efficiency ranked eighth, sixth, and 27th each of the last three years. Archie Miller’s Dayton team ranked 74th, 146th, and 53rd during that same time frame.

Miller will no doubt implement a more deliberate offense style that will look to take high percentage shots. There will be much less offensive freedom than the Hoosiers enjoyed under Crean, which should produce much more efficient basketball.

The biggest difference will be on the defensive end of the floor. Archie Miller’s Dayton teams were always one of the stingiest defensive teams in the country. In the last three seasons, the Flyers ranked 31st, 15th, and 43rd respectively. The Hoosiers under Crean were never a strong defensive team, ranking 201st, 59th, and 104th in the country during the same three year period.


Both Tom Crean and Archie Miller have a history of successful coaching in the college basketball realm. While Crean guided Indiana back to national prominence, the lack of a substantial defensive presence hurt the Hoosiers in games against the top opponents in the country.

Miller brings the same work ethic and intensity, but with a slower offensive pace and bigger defensive emphasis. This could prove to be the right combination for another Final Four trip in Bloomington.