BLACKSBURG, Va. - After West Virginia University's basketball team fell to Virginia Tech Tuesday afternoon at the Cassell Coliseum, Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins was asked if losing the game could be a teaching point.
"I think we put ourselves in a big hole," he said flatly.
"Look at our schedule. It's pretty hard. We're going to have to win some games people don't think we can win."
"I could lie to you, but I'm not very good about that."
Nor am I. My readers know that. So let's sum WVU's loss to Tech in a sentence.
It was terrible.
The loss wasn't unfortunate. It wasn't a matter of losing to a very good team. It wasn't a matter of losing to a good team. Or even an average team.
It was a terrible loss to a terrible Virginia Tech team.
Here's the deal. Erick Green, the Hokies' leading scorer - in fact, the nation's leading scorer - graduated from last season's team and is now playing in Italy.
Tech's captain is a freshman, Ben Emelogu.
One of the Hokies' best players, C.J. Barksdale, was suspended and didn't even play in his team's 87-82 victory over WVU.
Freshman Malik Mueller was ruled ineligible.
Virginia Tech lost its opener to USC Upstate. (Re-read that last sentence please.)
The Hokies coach, James Johnson, who played ball at Ferrum, is in his second season, while WVU has a Hall of Fame coach-in-waiting.
You probably had more folks in your office than what attended the start of Tuesday's afternoon game. (The attendance figure given was 5,049.)
And the kicker: the Hokies were picked to finish 15th out of 15 teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason media poll. There was more separation between them and Duke than there is these days between Demi and Ashton.
Yet the Mountaineers lost to those Hokies.
Afterward, Huggins addressed the situation. Until Tuesday, there were glowing reports. The Mountaineers were said to be more of a team than was the case last year. They were called coachable. Even in the first half on Tuesday, there were encouraging signs.
Then, in a fashion that reminded one of WVU's football team, they crumbled.
There were 13 blocked shots. But the ones that hurt the most seemed to be the ones altered. There was the 35.7 shooting percentage.