Each weekday, our college hoops experts discuss the biggest issues, trends and themes in college basketball.
1. What is Iowa State's biggest issue right now? And can Kansas State exploit it?
Andy Katz: The Cyclones lack depth. Losing guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long to injury hurt; coach Steve Prohm said as much last month. The Big 12 grind makes the need for a strong bench even more important.
Dana O'Neil: It's the same problem that has haunted the Cyclones for a while now: defense. It is one thing to be a really good offensive team, but eventually you have to stop someone. Iowa State gave up 94 points in each of its past two games. That's not good enough to beat anyone. Kansas State isn't exactly a scoring machine, but the Wildcats are also much more comfortable in a more methodical game. If the Cyclones can't find their tempo or stop K-State, they could have trouble.
C.L. Brown: Sometimes the Cyclones rely too much on their jump shooting instead of driving to the basket and getting to the free throw line. Iowa State is last in the Big 12, averaging just 16 free throw attempts per game. (By comparison, West Virginia leads the league with 31 attempts per game.) If the Cyclones start off missing perimeter shots early, Kansas State could stay in the game.
2. Must-wins in January sound crazy, but is the Villanova game a must-win for Georgetown?
Katz: I would say yes -- unless the Hoyas win at Nova and beat the Wildcats in the Big East tournament. If Georgetown loses at home, it would put an incredible amount of pressure on beating Nova in Philadelphia (March 5).
O'Neil: Not yet. As bad as the Hoyas have been, they sit at a surprising second place in the Big East standings, which gives them life. No doubt they need to scrub up their NCAA tournament résumé, but one win won't erase their troubles. Georgetown needs to methodically gear itself toward a Big East crown, and for that, it is still very much alive.
Brown: It's not at the must-win level because the Big East will afford plenty more opportunities to get marquee wins. But it would certainly be a confidence boost for a team headed into a tough three-game stretch with road games at Xavier and Connecticut next week.
3. Whom do you have on upset watch this weekend?
Katz: Villanova. The Wildcats have performed sensationally in the Big East. Every time I think they are going to lose on the road -- such as against Butler and Creighton -- they don't. If Georgetown is ever to make a move for a bid, this is the time. Beat Nova, and the Hoyas will suddenly have a shelf-life win to bolster their résumé.
O'Neil: Oklahoma. It might not qualify as a huge upset, but West Virginia, with its pressing style, might be in for the biggest week since 1989. That's the last time a team swept Nos. 1 and 2 in the same week. And the Mountaineers, hot off their win against Kansas, could pull it off. The Sooners, remember, coughed the ball up 19 times against Oklahoma State this week, and the Cowboys aren't West Virginia.
Brown: Miami. There's no way Clemson can make it 3-for-3 in beating ranked teams in Greenville, South Carolina, right? Or can it? The Tigers are the surprise of the ACC after knocking off Louisville and Duke -- and, for that matter, winning at Syracuse and beating Florida State. The Hurricanes tend to be infatuated with shooting 3-pointers, but in league play they're shooting just 21 percent from behind the arc. That's a recipe for disaster on the road.