Each weekday, our college hoops experts discuss the biggest issues, trends and themes in college basketball.
1. Both of the Pac-12's ranked teams are in action on Thursday. Who's more likely to fall on the road, USC or Arizona?
Andy Katz: USC. That's because the Trojans have the tougher opponent. Arizona is depleted, but the Wildcats have never let injuries get them down. The Trojans continue to exceed expectations, so winning in Eugene wouldn't be a shock. In this scenario, Arizona beating Stanford on the road is more likely.
Dana O'Neil: USC. As good as the Trojans have been, going on the road to face the Ducks is a far different animal than Arizona will face at Stanford. In a league where the home teams are dominating, location, location, location matters.
Myron Medcalf: I'd rather be Arizona facing Stanford than USC traveling to Eugene to battle Oregon. Baylor, Valparaiso, Cal and Stanford have all left Eugene with losses this season. USC's strong defense and 41 percent mark from the 3-point line will help, but it will be tough to beat the Ducks on the road. Advantage: Arizona.
2. Which single aspect of Kentucky's game at Arkansas must go the Wildcats' way to result in a win?
Katz: Patience. Arkansas isn't the same team from a year ago or two seasons ago. The depth or talent isn't the same. Still, the Wildcats must maintain patience with the ball and not get rattled. Tyler Ulis should be a settling influence, but the freshmen guards need to make poised plays.
O'Neil: Honestly, I don't think it's anything that can be measured. This Arkansas team is not the ferocious defending Arkansas teams we are used to, but Kentucky's issues aren't about their opponents. The problem lies inside. The Cats need to play with a sense of urgency, or better, desperation, from the opening tip. That presence is what's been missing from Kentucky this year.
Medcalf: The Wildcats are led by unreliable shooters, and they're getting limited production inside, but they have to attack Moses Kingsley, one of the nation's top shot-blockers. The Razorbacks are 6-1 this season when he draws two fouls or less. They're 3-7 when he picks up three or more. Now, that's not all on the big man, but his interior presence is vital to Arkansas' defensive makeup. Kentucky should penetrate and draw the big man into early foul trouble. That would help.
3. How will Saint Mary's attempt to slow Gonzaga's frontcourt?
Katz: If the Gaels can control the backcourt, they can have an upper hand on the frontcourt. The Gaels have historically done well making shots under Randy Bennett. Do that against the Zags and the pressure will be on Gonzaga's perimeter.
O'Neil: The best defense is a good offense, and the good news for the Gaels is they can score. Saint Mary's will have to do what it can to keep up with the Zags' frontcourt, especially on the boards, but it's not a battle the Gaels likely can win. So the alternative -- don't miss. The Gaels need to be on their 3-point game to win this one.
Medcalf: Most teams would struggle to contain Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis. Pepperdine's Stacy Davis collected a double-double in his team's win over St. Mary's two weeks ago. Wiltjer and Sabonis will likely excel too, but that's not the end of the story. First, Saint Mary's has been the most efficient defensive unit in WCC play. The Gaels have connected on 44 of their 3-pointers in WCC action, too. Emmett Naar and Dane Pineau, the latest Australian stars for Bennett, are two of the most underrated players in the country. Gonzaga will have its hands full on Thursday.