Best outlook: UK, KU, UL or Duke?

Looking at struggling favorites, top point guards and scariest unranked teams

Updated: January 16, 2014, 11:49 AM ET
By Jay Bilas and Jeff Goodman | ESPN Insider

Naadir TharpeMark D. Smith/USA TODAY SportsKansas needs consistent production from point guard Naadir Tharpe if it wants to go far this season.

Each week during the college basketball season, ESPN Insiders Jay Bilas and Jeff Goodman will weigh in on the biggest questions in the sport.

The discussion: Four of the teams in the top five of the preseason Associated Press poll -- Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisville -- have struggled at times this season. Which has the best outlook going forward?

Jeff Goodman: They all have their issues, and that's why they have each struggled at times this season. One common theme is that all four have questionable point guard situations. Quinn Cook is erratic for Duke, and the other three are either newcomers or in new roles: Kansas' Naadir Tharpe is trying to hold on to the job, Chris Jones is a junior college kid who has slid in to replace Peyton Siva, and Andrew Harrison has struggled as a highly touted freshman at Kentucky.

I also worry about Duke due to a lack of size. I worry about Louisville due to a lack of frontcourt depth and no quality wins to this point (the Cards have a chance to earn a good win Saturday against UConn -- 9 p.m. ET, ESPN). Kansas and Kentucky both have upside and should continue to improve as we get into the meat of league play.

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst