- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. The harsh reality for most schools outside the power six conferences is that they must play quality road games, mostly without a return, against elite teams. Win one or a few of those games and they should be treated well for at-large consideration. We’ve already seen a number of these cases so far and had more Wednesday night. Akron winning at Mississippi State, Kent State winning at West Virginia, Cleveland State winning at Vanderbilt and now add Long Beach State winning at Pitt. Creighton won at UAB, too, but that is a game between two similar conferences. Still, it’s a road win for the Bluejays, a team that is winning games it’s supposed to if they should be taken seriously. The selection committee will be mindful of these type of wins come March.
2. Six NBA teams have already come in to watch Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe. Mbakwe, who could lead the Gophers to an upset-type run in the Big Ten to finish in the top four. Mbakwe has missed only three shots in two games and leads the Gophers with 17 points and 10 rebounds a game. The key for the Gophers will be their young guards like Chip Armelin, Andre Hollins and Maverick Ahanmisi. If they mature, the frontcourt of Mbakwe, Ralph Sampson III and Rodney Williams could cause fits in the Big Ten.
3. Iowa State had its first wake-up call when it lost to rival Drake 74-65. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said the Cyclones missed too many shots, missed 10 free throws, didn’t guard the dribble well and now have an early-season wakeup. The Cyclones are leaning heavily on players who have transferred into the program. There were going to be growing pains with this move. Minnesota transfer Royce White can only do so much (23 ppg, 12.5 rpg through two games). The Cyclones will need more balance moving forward.