"I think everybody kind of forgets that we're playing three sophomores and two freshmen in the backcourt,'' Huggins said. "It took a while. It took a lot longer than I wanted. It took a lot longer than I expected.''
If nothing else, West Virginia's three-game winning streak has positioned it for the final eight games of the season. It's not a great position - 5-5 in the league and in seventh place among 10 teams - but it's not nearly as dire as it seemed just a few games ago.
In fact, at 5-5 the Mountaineers are just a game out of a tie for fourth place and only two games out of second.
"Honestly, if you think about it, we maybe shoulda, coulda beaten a couple of those other teams at home,'' Huggins said of down-to-the wire home defeats to Oklahoma, Kansas State and Kansas, the last two by a combined three points. "And then all of a sudden we've got seven wins and eight wins in the league and all you guys are saying, 'Hey, they're really good.' It's so much a game of inches sometimes.''
Well, over those last eight games West Virginia will have a chance to win some of those games and perhaps make more movement in the league standings than rising above the basement dwellers. Of the final eight games, seven are against teams ranked above the Mountaineers in the standings, beginning with Wednesday night's game at Baylor. Half of the final eight games are at home, starting with a three-in-four-games stretch at the Coliseum beginning Saturday (Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor).
So there is plenty of opportunity for movement in the standings. At this point, it's just a matter of which way WVU goes. And for the first time in a while, the possibility that the direction might be up seems at least realistic.
"You know, there were a lot of people that gave us up for dead,'' Huggins said. "I'm happy with the resiliency we've shown.
"We're 5-5 and there are going to be some other people lose and fall to us and we certainly can help ourselves. We'll just try to keep winning.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1.