"I think it becomes more of a concern if you get in foul trouble,'' Huggins said. "But we were pretty good in what, 2010-11? We had eight guys and we were pretty good.''
Well, yes, that 2010-11 team was pretty good and not very deep. It finished 21-12 and won an NCAA tournament game over Clemson before losing to a Kentucky team that would reach the Final Four.
But it wasn't very deep because Huggins chose not to make it deep. Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant, Casey Mitchell, John Flowers, Joe Mazzulla, Cam Thoroughman, Deniz Kilicli and Dalton Pepper played in just about every game. That was the core of eight. But Jonnie West, Kevin Noreen and Dan Jennings were also available in a pinch, as were three walk-ons.
There's not much in case of a pinch right now.
Also consider the make-up of that team. The 2010-11 group was fairly experienced, with Noreen the only freshman. Everyone else on scholarship had been around for at least the previous season and most for two, three or even four (Mazzulla was a fifth-year senior).
This year Gary Browne and Noreen are playing their third seasons, Juwan Staten, Terry Henderson and Eron Harris their second. The other three eligible and healthy scholarship players are all freshmen - Brandon Watkins, Devin Williams and Nathan Adrian. Even when Dibo returns and if Holton somehow becomes eligible, they're juniors in their first year in the program.
It's just a very tenuous situation, and Huggins knows it. He knows pretty much what his five returnees can do, but there's not much opportunity for experimenting with the freshmen and then sitting them down if they can't handle it right away.
Fortunately, Huggins said, "I think they've all gotten significantly better.''
He meant the three freshmen. That's good, because with this roster there's not much room for error.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.