- Andy Katz, ESPN.com Senior Writer
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1. Chartering to road games has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity for programs that want to compete at the highest level. Gonzaga has consistently chartered to road games the past few seasons. Part of the reason the Zags play such a national schedule is due to the charter flights. To give you an idea on how the other half travels, South Dakota State had to bus from Belmont in Nashville, Tenn., to Albuquerque last week. The Jackrabbits beat New Mexico. Wednesday, it was the Lobos' turn to see how the common traveler deals with winter weather. UNM coach Steve Alford said the Lobos had to go Albuquerque-Denver-Chicago-Louisville and then bus to Cincinnati for Thursday night's game against Bearcats. Alford said the only charters he has been on at New Mexico were when the Lobos played in the NCAA tournament. This is not an excuse but the majority of the elite programs in the country charter. Yet, a plethora of programs that want to be considered elite have to go commercial and deal with the headaches and frustration of winter travel.
2. UNLV enters Saturday's game at North Carolina as the ranked team and the squad expected to win since it is more relevant nationally this season. But that isn't convincing UNLV coach Dave Rice that the Runnin' Rebels are the overwhelming favorite. "We have tremendous respect for UNC,'' said Rice. "What is relevant to us is that they are 6-0 at home, have a Hall of Fame coach, terrific players and a storied tradition. We will be ready to play. Our guys understand what a huge challenge this is for us.'' But at this point it would be an "upset" if the Tar Heels were to win. This is the same Tar Heels team that lost to Texas and got blown out by Indiana. UNLV should win this game, especially since the Tar Heels don't have a matchup for Anthony Bennett. But this is also a credibility marker for the Rebels. Win this game on the East Cast and suddenly the Rebels will likely alter the perception for this team this season.
3. Southern Miss is at Morehead State on Friday in what has become a new way for athletic directors to get back at the coach who is leaving. Southern Miss has to play Morehead in a two-for-one deal with two of the games being at Morehead for Donnie Tyndall leaving for the Morehead job last spring. Tyndall said this will be an emotional game for him. He called his six years at Morehead the best in his life. "I'm very proud of what we accomplished there," said Tyndall. "I have great friends there that supported me along the way. On the flip side, we have a job to do but I feel our team will be prepared and ready to go against a very talented basketball team."
1. Chartering to road games has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity for programs that want to compete at the highest level. Gonzaga has consistently chartered to road games the past few seasons.