After dominating much weaker opponents in its first three games, things could get a bit more challenging for Indiana over the next couple days.
It remains to be seen, though, if Georgia has what it takes to keep up with the top-ranked Hoosiers.
In its first game against a team from a major conference, Indiana faces the Bulldogs in the semifinal round of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn on Monday.
The Hoosiers are on the verge of their fourth consecutive 4-0 start after beating Bryant, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State by an average of 41.0 points. Indiana held those opponents to a combined 34.5 percent from the floor.
The Hoosiers figure to face more of a test at the Barclays Center, where they'll play Georgia (1-2) before facing Georgetown or No. 13 UCLA the following night.
Indiana, though, would still appear to have a big edge if Georgia's recent efforts are any indication. The Bulldogs pulled out a season-opening 68-62 win over Jacksonville but lost to Youngstown State and Southern Mississippi in their last two outings.
Georgia went 11 of 21 from the free-throw line and was outrebounded 36-27 in the 62-60 overtime defeat to the Golden Eagles on Thursday. The Bulldogs are shooting 37.0 percent from the field.
"What we have to recognize is that you can't leave 10 points at the foul line and get outrebounded like we did in the second half and win basketball games," coach Mark Fox told the school's official website.
Sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, averaging a team-high 20.3 points, led Georgia with 17 but made five of 21 shots. He may have trouble improving on that performance against Indiana's smothering defense.
The Hoosiers gave up their lowest scoring output of the season in a 99-45 rout of Sam Houston State on Thursday, holding the Bearkats to 30.2 percent shooting and outrebounding them 45-23.
"If we're going to get to where we want to go, we can't play 35 minutes," senior Jordan Hulls said. "We've got to play a full 40 minutes."
Hulls made three 3-pointers for the third consecutive game and finished with 10 points, giving him 1,000 for his career.
"That kid epitomizes what we're doing," coach Tom Crean said. "He epitomizes Indiana basketball in so many ways, and I think people from the past can identify with him, and people in the future can look at Jordan Hulls and see what can happen when you play in this program and grow up really loving this program, but most importantly, he impacts our present."
After shooting 33.3 percent in the first two games, senior Christian Watford surprisingly came off the bench and scored 23 points while shooting 5 of 8. He went 3 for 3 from beyond the arc and 10 for 10 from the free-throw line.
"Once (Crean) told me, ain't nothing you can do about it, just get ready to play," said Watford, who's started 97 of 99 career games. "Just give 100 percent on both ends of the floor and everything will take care of itself."
It's uncertain if Watford will return to the starting lineup Monday.
Indiana is 3-0 against Georgia, with the schools last meeting in 1976.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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