Daily Word: Big opportunities for Vanderbilt, Wisconsin

Each weekday, our college hoops experts discuss the biggest issues, trends and themes in college basketball.

1. Which struggling team has the most to gain this weekend?

Andy Katz: Vanderbilt. The Commodores have been disappointing so far, losing at home to LSU and at Arkansas in overtime. Beating undefeated South Carolina (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ESPNU) could be a season-changer for Vandy.

John Gasaway: Wisconsin. The Badgers are 1-2 in the Big Ten, but they have No. 3-ranked Maryland paying a visit to Madison this weekend (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN). A victory would bring Nigel Hayes & Co. up to .500 and trigger talk of a "signature" win for interim coach Greg Gard.

Jeff Goodman: I'm going with Vandy as well. The Commodores are still searching for that résumé-building win as well as some momentum, and this could be it.

2. Which ranked team has the most to lose?

Katz: Butler. The Bulldogs face Villanova at home Sunday. Butler was rolling into the Big East but has stumbled a bit out of the gate. A win over Nova would help.

Gasaway: Duke. A loss at home to Virginia Tech -- unlikely though that might be -- would start some serious soul-searching for a team that has quietly been building some momentum. Then again, maybe a defeat would actually be a good sign. A year ago, almost to the day, the Blue Devils lost at home by 16 to an opponent (Miami) that didn't make the NCAA tournament. That season turned out pretty well.

Goodman: Kentucky. This team can go one of two ways, in my opinion. It can regroup and still become a top-10 club -- or go the other way and fight just to get into the NCAA tourney. If you want to be a team that gets protected with a good seed, you need to beat Alabama (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, SECN) even on the road.

3. Whom do you have on upset watch?

Katz: North Carolina. The Tar Heels are the more talented, experienced and versatile team. But the emotion will be high for Syracuse with a rocking crowd at the Carrier Dome for the return of Jim Boeheim (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN). How much that means for the Orange is still to be determined.

Gasaway: Kansas. Texas Tech has made huge strides on both sides of the ball, and Tubby Smith's men are 9-0 so far in Lubbock. Plus, teams are just 2-3 this season in true road games played while ranked No. 1. North Carolina lost at Northern Iowa, Kentucky lost at UCLA and, while Michigan State did win games at Northeastern and Minnesota, the Spartans also lost one at Iowa. Jayhawks, beware (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

Goodman: Louisville at Clemson. The Cards haven't exactly played a buzz saw of a schedule thus far. Clemson isn't great, but Brad Brownell is a good coach, and the team has some confidence with its recent win over Syracuse.