Daily Word: Weekend redemption
Every weekday, Andy Katz leads a panel of our college hoops experts in a discussion of the biggest issues, trends and themes happening in and around college basketball.
1. What team needs a win Saturday that has missed out on opportunities thus far in nonconference?
Andy Katz: Marquette. The Golden Eagles missed out at Arizona State and Wisconsin and weren't able to secure a Wooden Legacy title. Beating New Mexico in Las Vegas would be a quality win and one that would give the Golden Eagles momentum going into the Big East.
Dana O'Neil: Georgetown. The Hoyas have one decent win against VCU, but depending on if the Rams right the ship that may lose some luster, and not much else to show for the nonconference. More critical, the value of the Big East remains unsettled -- only Villanova is ranked at this point -- so Georgetown really needs to show its might against Kansas.
C.L. Brown: Georgetown. The Hoyas' win over VCU isn't as impressive as it was at the time. Georgetown lost its only other meeting against a current ranked team in the opener against Oregon. The Hoyas could land a major salvo for the Big East traveling to Kansas. Notre Dame comes off a solid win against Indiana, but a win over Ohio State would go a long way in making people forget its losses to Indiana State and North Dakota State.
2. What did Duke do differently in the second half of its win over UCLA (outscored the Bruins 43-26)?
Katz: Duke's defense awoke. The offense was much more selective and the transition game was effective. Oh, and the Blue Devils had the best player on the floor in Jabari Parker. Duke also had more scoring options then it has had recently.
O'Neil: A combination of changing its offense, by using Amile Jefferson in the high post, and slowing down UCLA in transition. The latter may have been more important. Once the Bruins were slowed down they became disjointed and eminently beatable in the half court.
Brown: Duke showed more patience offensively against UCLA's zone and just knocked down its open 3-pointers. Its defensive effort improved, limiting UCLA to 34 percent shooting. And Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson combined for 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench in the second half.
3. Who do you have on upset watch this weekend?
Katz: Oklahoma State. Colorado is playing its best basketball of the season after a slow start. The Buffaloes are beaming with confidence after the Kansas win. The Cowboys will have the top talent on the court in Marcus Smart but they will need balance to take down a hot CU team.
O'Neil: Kansas. The Hoyas may not have racked up a lot of big wins, but they've been winning and winning fairly decisively. Georgetown brings a six-game winning streak, an experienced roster and most critical, a good defense to Lawrence. That could be enough to confound a Jayhawks team still trying to work out the kinks. One caveat: winning at Allen is awfully hard.
Brown: If Florida State can take care of the ball it is tough enough to possibly knock UMass from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Seminoles will be one of the best teams defensively the Minutemen have faced so far. Typical of Leonard Hamilton's teams, Florida State's defense is holding teams to just 37.8 percent shooting.
Games To Watch
This game should serve as nothing more than a tuneup for the Orange, who will face Villanova on Dec. 28. Point guard Tyler Ennis -- whose assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.55 is among the best marks in the nation -- has been key for the Orange
They Said It
ESPNU Basketball Podcast
Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg check in with newsmakers from around college basketball.