Daily Word: Can West Virginia knock off a big Big 12 foe?

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

1. West Virginia has struggled against the Big 12 elite -- it has lost three of four, and the three defeats came against Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma. What's holding the Mountaineers back?

Andy Katz: Turning the ball over. Coach Bob Huggins said that remains their issue. They have to solve it if they are going to advance in March.

Dana O'Neil: Offense. As tough and relentless as the Mountaineers are defensively, they do not have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Big 12's top tier. If they can't force teams out of rhythm, they can't win.

Jeff Goodman: Talent. Huggins has gotten as much as possible out of this group, but let's face it: The Mountaineers just don't have the same level of talent as those three teams, and also as Iowa State. They play so hard -- and defend. But there's probably not an NBA player on the roster.

2. Virginia plays Miami and North Carolina this week. The Cavaliers are tied with the Hurricanes and are one game back of the Tar Heels? Will they be on top of the ACC at week's end?

Katz: I will say no due to a split. Miami has to rebound after a horrendous performance against North Carolina.

O'Neil: I say yes. It's a tall order, but I think the Cavaliers can do it. Miami is on the ropes after that game against North Carolina, and getting the Tar Heels at home sets Virginia up for the sweep.

Goodman: I think Virginia will split the games at Miami and at home against North Carolina -- and I see the Tar Heels also splitting a pair this week. So I'll go with the fact that UNC will still be in first place and will wind up winning the ACC -- ending Virginia's two-year reign.

3. Which bubble team has the most to gain or lose this week?

Katz: Gonzaga and Saint Mary's. Both teams must win out. Neither can afford another loss.

O'Neil: LSU is always a good answer to any bubble question. The skidding Tigers won't play their way in against Arkansas and Florida, but they surely can play their way further out.

Goodman: Vanderbilt. The Commodores are firmly on the bubble -- and have a week in which a sweep would put coach Kevin Stallings' team firmly in the field. Vandy plays at Florida on Tuesday and then gets Kentucky at home on Saturday.