Each weekday, our college hoops experts discuss the biggest issues, trends and themes in college basketball.
1. Is Texas Tech the best one-loss team no one is talking about?
Andy Katz: Not sure yet. We will know more after the Red Raiders travel to Iowa State (Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
C.L. Brown: It is still Texas Tech -- although Saint Mary's isn't far behind as it looks more and more like it will challenge Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference title. The Red Raiders have accumulated some quality wins including Saturday's 82-74 win against Texas. But they won't get any credit until they win on the road. Aside from three neutral-site games, the Red Raiders haven't played outside of Lubbock, Texas.
Eamonn Brennan: This question is like a treasure hunt! Hmm, let's see. Ooh: Hasn't Miami been pretty quiet lately? The Hurricanes have just sort of chugged along since that November home loss to Northeastern, and we feel like we don't hear that much about them given that they're probably one of the best 15 teams in the country. Still, they are ranked, so ... oh, here we go: Pittsburgh? Jamie Dixon's team lost to Purdue on Dec. 1 and then dunked on the rest of its gentle schedule, so it's been tough to get too excited about Pitt's balanced and efficient offensive production (1.16 points per possession), but the sheer numbers are impressive. Then again, the Panthers also clawed their way (sorry) into the AP poll this week. And C.L. took Saint Mary's...
All right, you win. Texas Tech is the most ignored one-loss team in college basketball. They're playing solid defense, some of their wins (Hawaii, Arkansas Little Rock) are better than advertised, and they start not one but two players -- Toddrick Gotcher, Norense Odiase -- whose names could be minor characters in "Game of Thrones." Who knew?
2. What has enabled Seton Hall to get off to a 12-2 start (2-0 in the Big East with a win against Marquette)?
Katz: Balance and experience. Seton Hall was grossly underrated. There's no reason why the Pirates can't be an NCAA tournament team.
Brown: Seton Hall is much better defensively than it was a season ago, but more importantly its locker room is much more stable. The Pirates started off last season with an identical 12-2 record and 2-0 start in the Big East that included a huge win against Villanova, but in-house bickering led to that team falling apart. The malcontents are now gone. Their promising start is legit.
Brennan: I agree with C.L. here: The Pirates' locker room is probably a much saner place these days, if only because the alleged rift between 2014-15's freshmen (especially Isaiah Whitehead) and veterans (Jaren Sina, Sterling Gibbs) is no longer open. The newcomers were occasionally portrayed as the antagonists of Seton Hall's meltdown a season ago, and Whitehead still has strides to make to become less of a pure volume scorer. But the Pirates appear much more committed on the defensive end this time around.
3. Mississippi State has some bad nonconference losses. Do you expect a turnaround in the SEC?
Katz: Not a turnaround. But the Bulldogs should be more competitive as they continue to mature and grow under first-year coach Ben Howland. Expectations were probably too high for freshman Malik Newman.
Brown: I agree with Andy. It won't so much be a turnaround, but the Bulldogs will continue to get more competitive as the season progresses.
Brennan: There's no explaining away losses to Southern and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Texas Tech is the only (ostensibly) good team the Bulldogs have played that didn't completely blow them out. That said, Ben Howland's team is already better than last season's dreary version. Newman has been pretty good (if not great), Craig Sword is a very good defender, and forward Gavin Ware is shooting 70.4 percent (on 125 attempts) from the field this season. There's some good news -- and some more room for growth.