<
>

Daily Word: Will Cuonzo Martin or Sean Miller go deeper in March?

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

1. Who is better built for a long run in March -- Cal or Arizona?

Andy Katz: Cal. The Bears are healthier, have the depth and more scoring options. The Bears also are defending well right now and are soaring with confidence. Arizona still has experience in key spots, but the Bears are trending in a better direction.

Jeff Goodman: Tough one. Obviously, there is already a culture of winning under Sean Miller in Tucson. However, I'm just not sold on this team and its point guard play. I'm going with Cal -- which is playing well and has all the pieces. Ty Wallace is healthy, Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb are playing well. Plus, Cuonzo Martin has two shooters in Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews.

C.L. Brown: Arizona has the edge in terms of tournament experience, having reached the Elite Eight in consecutive seasons. But the way Cal has played the second half of the Pac-12 season, I'd give the nod to the Golden Bears' talent. It took them a while to figure things out, but now the Bears are rolling.

2. Which bubble team in action Thursday -- UConn, Temple, Cincinnati, South Carolina, Arkansas-Little Rock, Hawaii -- cannot afford a loss?

Katz: Hawaii. It's hard to see the Big West getting two bids. The Rainbows must get to the Big West final to have a chance, but the more likely scenario is for Hawaii to win the Big West.

Goodman: Cincinnati is the one that can ill-afford to lose -- especially to Houston. UConn is still in decent shape, and a loss at SMU isn't unexpected. But if the Bearcats want to get in, they need to beat Kelvin Sampson's team.

Brown: UConn. The Huskies may withstand a loss at SMU in terms of still being positioned to earn an at-large bid. But a loss would leave them trending in the wrong direction with their third loss in their past four games.

3. Memphis hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2014. What's missing for the Tigers?

Katz: Experience. This team got rocked by the sudden departure of Austin Nichols. The Tigers have talent but long for players who can make the astute decisions at the right times. This hasn't been a lost season yet. Memphis has enough talent to be a potential spoiler in Orlando, Florida, at the American tournament.

Goodman: Guard play and Austin Nichols. Josh Pastner has subpar point guard play, and the departure of Nichols in the offseason was crushing.

Brown: The Tigers weren't too far away from being a NCAA tournament-quality team. They just haven't been able to win close games. If they had pulled out at least three of their two-possession or overtime losses (Oklahoma 84-78, Mississippi 85-79, UConn 81-78, Cincinnati 76-72, East Carolina 84-83, UT-Arlington 68-64 and Tulane 94-87), Memphis would at worst be like Cincinnati and UConn resting on the tournament bubble. If they had won more, they'd likely be considered an at-large worthy team.