Points up and down the roster have keyed Indiana's undefeated start to the 2021 season.
The Hoosiers scored 20 bench points in their 76-74 win over St. John's on Wednesday night and have averaged 25.3 points off the bench in their first three games.
It's a trend Indiana (3-0) will look to continue when it hosts Louisiana (3-0) on Sunday night.
"Our bench has got to be ready," Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. "Our bench is just as important as the guys that start the game. I thought they did that against Northern Illinois, and (against St. John's) they came in and did a great job as well."
Freshman guard Tamar Bates has been Indiana's leading scorer off the bench, averaging 6.7 points per game. Bates scored all 11 of his points in the first half during Indiana's win over St. John's.
"Our mentality is your team is only as good as the last player on the depth chart," Bates said. "No matter who it is, no matter who subs in, coach always stresses that you always stay ready, continue to work on your game."
Indiana has been led this season by preseason All-American forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is averaging 19.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4 blocks through the first three games this season. Fellow returning starting forward Race Thompson also has been important up front for the Hoosiers, averaging 10.7 points and 8.3 rebounds.
Louisiana is coming off an 84-72 win over Xavier (La.) on Wednesday. The Ragin' Cajuns boast size inside with 6-11 forward Jordan Brown and 6-11 forward Theo Akwuba. Brown, a transfer from Arizona, is averaging 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds through three games this season, while Akwuba is averaging 10.3 points and 8.0 rebounds.
"It's important to establish both of those guys inside," Louisiana coach Bob Marlin said.
Marlin said Louisiana will need to tighten up on the defensive end against Indiana after allowing Xavier to shoot 43.9 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range.
"We let guys beat us off the dribble in the first half, and in the second half we were careless with the ball and still continued to miss assignments on the defensive end," Marlin said. "I'm glad that we were able to come out with a victory, but we did not play the way we needed to."
Louisiana's 3-0 start to the season is its best since winning its first three games to start the 1995-96 season.
--Field Level Media