Iowa State is not a bad NCAA basketball team and there’s no shame in losing to the Cylones on their home floor, but the Michigan Wolverines, who lost 77-70 Sunday to ISU, and talented Wolverine sophomore Nik Stauskas learned a valuable lesson in their bid to live up to their lofty preseason rankings: a team hasn’t proven anything until it beats a quality opponent.
The Wolverines have plenty of time this season to defeat an outstanding opponent on the road. It’s still a very young team even though Michigan is loaded with talent. The Wolverines need to turn up their defense several notches when they’re on the road. Young teams, especially, are obviously far more vulnerable on the road when they are playing in different surroundings for the first time. Stauskas and the Wolverines need to show they can play just as well on enemy territory than at home. An effective way for evaluating any basketball team’s value is its ability to knock off a quality opponent on the road.
But Stauskas still was able to show his stuff with 20 points and six assists. He’s obviously going to be an outstanding Big Ten player this season. He and his teammates like freshman Derrick Walton and sophomore Glenn Robinson III need to learn how to finish off a game on the road. They’ll need to win most of their road Big Ten games if they’re to be a legitimate conference contender. They can’t be intimidated by different surroundings. They failed in their test at Iowa State. But they’ll have several more chances to prove that they’re a solid road team.