Indiana head coach Mike Woodson is going to shake up his lineup when Big Ten play resumes.
With starting point guard Xavier Johnson out for an extended period of time, the second year head coach will turn to Tamar Bates at shooting guard on Thursday night when the Hoosiers face Iowa.
Woodson said he is making the change with an eye towards his team getting off to better starts — something that was a problem in their three losses.
“We’re going to have to shake the lineup up a little bit probably, and see if that works,” Woodson said on his radio show on Monday evening. “I have to make the adjustments in terms of who starts and who comes of the bench.”
“We will change the lineup a little bit with X being out, we’re going to start Tamar Bates and bring (Trey) Galloway off the bench to back the second unit up, because I’ve got to have another ball handler.”
That should mean the new starting lineup is Jalen Hood-Schifino, Bates, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis.
A 6-foot-5 sophomore guard, Bates is averaging 11.4 points over his last eight games while making 17-of-36 (47.2 percent) from three during that span.
While it seems Johnson still has a long recovery ahead after foot surgery, Woodson said he is progressing.
“He (Johnson) said he’s feeling great in terms of, not so much being all the way pain free, but he says his foot feels a lot better,” Woodson said on Monday evening. “I know he’s got a high motor, man, and he wants to get back out on the floor.”
IU has not provided a specific timeline for Johnson’s return to the floor, but he’s not expected back anytime soon.
Indiana faces Iowa on Thursday evening at 9 p.m. Eastern.
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