"I know they're young, but as coaches you can't accept that,'' Barnes said. "Sometimes maybe we're unrealistic that way because there are some things they're going through that they haven't gone through. But they think they're older than they are, so if they think that way they ought to play like they're older than they are.''
Texas gets much of its scoring from a backcourt of sophomores Sheldon McClellan (15.6 points per game) and Julien Lewis (11.8) and freshman point guard Javan Felix (9.6, 6.6 assists), but also has muscle in the form of 6-foot-7, 239-pound sophomore Jonathan Holmes (7.2 points, 7.6 assists) and 6-9, 270-pound freshman Cameron Ridley (5.5 points, 5.4 rebounds). There are also three big freshmen coming off the bench - 6-10 Prince Ibeh, 6-9 Connor Lammert and 6-8 Ioannis Papapetrou.
That inside muscle figures to pose a particular problem for West Virginia, which has not rebounded or scored well inside. The Longhorns lead the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.339) and 3-point defense (.238) and are second in the Big 12 in blocked shots.
But how Texas will play is just as much a mystery most games as how West Virginia will play.
"We are who we are right now. We're an 8-6 team and that's who we are,'' Barnes said. "And we're an 8-6 team for a reason, because we haven't been consistently tough enough to do the things that are necessary to win basketball games.
"Like Bobby, I don't know what to expect. We probably neither one know what to expect.''
WVU beat the Longhorns 80-79 in the Far West Classic in Oregon in 1973.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.